Statistics in Psychology: An Historical Perspective

Statistics in Psychology: An Historical Perspective

Statistics in Psychology: An Historical Perspective

Statistics in Psychology: An Historical Perspective


This book presents an historical overview of the field--from its development to the present--at an accessible mathematical level. This edition features two new chapters--one on factor analysis and the other on the rise of ANOVA usage in psychological research.

Written for psychology, as well as other social science students, this book introduces the major personalities and their roles in the development of the field. It provides insight into the disciplines of statistics and experimental design through the examination of the character of its founders and the nature of their views, which were sometimes personal and ideological, rather than objective and scientific. It motivates further study by illustrating the human component of this field, adding dimension to an area that is typically very technical.

Intended for advanced undergraduate and/or graduate students in psychology and other social sciences, this book will also be of interest to instructors and/or researchers interested in the origins of this omnipresent discipline.


In this second edition I have made some corrections to errors in algebraic expressions that I missed in the first edition and I have briefly expanded on some sections of the original where I thought such expansion would make the narrative clearer or more useful. The main change is the inclusion of two new chapters; one on factor analysis and one on the rise of the use of ANOVA in psychological research. I am still of the opinion that factor analysis deserves its own historical account, but I am persuaded that the audience for such a work would be limited were the early mathematical contortions to be fully explored. I have tried to provide a brief non-mathematical background to its arrival on the statistical scene.

I realized that my account of ANOVA in the first edition did not do justice to the story of its adoption by psychology, and largely due to my re-reading of the work of Sandy Lovie (of the University of Liverpool, England) and Pat Lovie (of Keele University, England), who always write papers that I wish I had written, decided to try again. I hope that the Lovies will not be too disappointed by my attempt to summarize their sterling contributions to the history of both factor analysis and ANOVA.

As before, any errors and misinterpretations are my responsibility alone. I would welcome correspondence that points to alternative views.

I would like to give special thanks to the reviewers of the first edition for their kind comments and all those who have helped to bring about the revival of this work. In particular Professor Niels Waller of Vanderbilt University must be acknowledged for his insistent and encouraging remarks. I hope that I have . . .

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