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Anecdotal Experiments: evaluating evidence with few animals

Dacey, Mike (2020) Anecdotal Experiments: evaluating evidence with few animals. In: UNSPECIFIED.

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Abstract

Comparative psychology came into its own as a science of animal minds, so a standard story goes, when it abandoned anecdotes in favor of experimental methods. However, pragmatic constraints significantly limit the number of individual animals included in laboratories experiments. Studies are often published with sample sizes in the single digits, and sometimes samples of one animal. With such small samples, comparative psychology has arguably not actually moved on from its anecdotal roots. Replication failures in other branches of psychology have received substantial attention, but have only recently been addressed in comparative psychology, and have not received serious attention in the attending philosophical literature. I focus on the question of how to interpret findings from experiments with small samples, and whether they can be generalized to other members of the tested species. As a first step, I argue that we should view studies with extreme small sample sizes as anecdotal experiments, lying somewhere between traditional experiments and traditional anecdotes in evidential weight and generalizability.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Dacey, Mike
Keywords: Animal minds, replication, evidence
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Experimentation
Depositing User: Dr. Mike Dacey
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2020 03:35
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2020 03:35
Item ID: 17683
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Psychology > Comparative Psychology and Ethology
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Experimentation
Date: 30 July 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/17683

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