Pitfalls of Statistical Methods in Traffic Psychology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeEntry for encyclopedia/dictionaryScientificpeer-review

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This article highlights four common pitfalls in the use of statistics in the area of traffic psychology. Through computer simulations of scenarios that are typical in the field, it is first shown that a statistically significant P-value does not prove that the effect is true, especially when the effect is surprising and the P-value barely significant. Second, we show that “everything is correlated”, a phenomenon which has important ramifications for significance testing. Third, we explain the perils of two-stage testing and data peeking. Finally, we explain that the violation of independence can easily lead to false positives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Transportation
EditorsRoger Vickerman
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-08-102672-4
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Bias
  • Common method variance
  • Correlation coefficient
  • False positives
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Outliers
  • Power
  • Questionable research practices
  • Response style
  • Sample size
  • Statistical significance
  • t-test
  • Test assumptions
  • Type I errors


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