# Behavioral Statistics

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The term "behavioral statistics" is generally used to refer to the use of statistics in the study of psychology.  The only difference between behavioral statistics and the study of statistics in general is that behavioral statistics courses focus only on those statistics that will be of use to a psychologist.

Psychologists need to be able to use statistics in order to know whether, for example, they have actually found a connection between two things.  Imagine that a psychologist tests 200 subjects (100 men and 100 women) to see if there is a connection between their sex and their reaction to a given stimulus.  Let's say that 45 of the women reacted in a given way while 52% of the men reacted in that way.  A psychologist would need to know how to do statistics in order to determine if that result is truly meaningful or if it could have happened simply by chance.

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Statistical data is useful for analyzing trends and patterns of behavior in all walks of life. Statistics allow financial planners to make potentially life-changing decisions and they allow analysts to make predictions in many fields. In the behavioral sciences, psychologists may use statistics because it allows for the establishment of models and allows them to predict behavior based on the findings of the data. When analyzing statistics for psychology, the results are complied in much the same way as for financial statistics but obviously the sample being measured is assessed for reasons such as, for example how peer pressure affects teenagers.

Terminology is much the same and there are dependent and independent variables, samples and populations, scales and intervals and inferential and descriptive statistics. Qualitative and quantitative information are both relevant and considered for their objective and / or subjective value. Quantitative information allows researchers to express averages and norms in behavior on a large scale. It is descriptive in nature whereas qualitative information measures such things as characteristics, emotions and behavior patterns but which cannot be quantified and which are therefore measured on a much smaller scale. In qualitative research, trends are often established after the collection of information and once the data has been analyzed making it a more personalized approach.

Interpretation is key in all statistics and in behavioral statistics it is extremely important in helping psychologists understand certain types of behavior so that they can guide their patients towards better health or coping mechanisms or lifestyle changes. By establishing general and expected patterns of behavior, it is possible to help the greatest number of people and behavioral statistics makes it possible for specialists to make informed decisions with the help of these trusted and reliable statistics.

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thetall | (Level 3) Educator

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Whereas statistics in general is a branch of applied mathematics, behavioral statistics refers to statistics used specifically by psychologists in their study of behavior. Psychological research involves collection and analysis of big amounts of data which can be overwhelming to work with or represent. Behavioral statistics makes this process less tedious as it gives a guideline as to how such data should be handled and represented. For instance, through the use of graphs and charts, data can easily be understood and inferences can easily be made. Statistics therefore becomes critical for a behavioral scientist as it facilitates the process of planning for research, gathering information, organizing data, describing data and even making inferences from the data. In behavioral science, psychologists use statistics to confirm or deny predictions made with regards to behavior or to test hypotheses.

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