Here is a fascinating discussion by Ralph Horwitz, MD, professor of medicine at Stanford, on the subtleties of statistics in medicine:
Sunday, January 2, 2011
A couple of weeks back, The Economist magazine published a cover article on age and happiness. The idea of the article was based on the following chart:
The article went on to say that the level of happiness tends show a “U” shape and improves with age from about 45 onwards. Andrew Gellman, a statistician at Columbia University, looked at some of the same data and produced the following graph:
He concludes that the that the “U” shape is not nearly as clear as The Economist suggests. Reference to other studies suggests that the “U” shape might have more to do with weak scientific method.
I think for me, the more important question, is what really is “happiness”. For a fun read, try Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar,