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SOSC 111 - Science Technology and Society Today: Lesson 25 Do Statistics Lie? Dec ember 2, 1998 Dr. Vincent Duffy - IEEM ieem.ust.hk/dfaculty/duffy/111.

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Presentation on theme: "SOSC 111 - Science Technology and Society Today: Lesson 25 Do Statistics Lie? Dec ember 2, 1998 Dr. Vincent Duffy - IEEM ieem.ust.hk/dfaculty/duffy/111."— Presentation transcript:

1 SOSC Science Technology and Society Today: Lesson 25 Do Statistics Lie? Dec ember 2, 1998 Dr. Vincent Duffy - IEEM ieem.ust.hk/dfaculty/duffy/

2 Ex1. Fall Fashion Survey says ‘90% of college students say Levi’s 501 jeans are ‘popular’ on campus’ n Students on 100 campuses were asked to choose which of the following were popular on campus: n Levi’s 501 jeans n T-shirts with graphics n 1960’s type clothing n Licra/spandex clothing n Overalls (like farmers wear) n Patriotic themed clothing (like stars & stripes) n Decorated denim n Printed Pull-on beach pants n Long sleeved hooded T-shirts 2

3 What is misleading about the claim? n Levi’s jeans are the only choice for jeans (important because the jeans ad implies comparison to other jeans) n It was a Levi’s sponsored survey. n The statement doesnt say 90% wear Levi’s it only says that 90% think they are ‘popular’ u and this is compared to other mostly ‘non’ jeans clothing 3

4 ex.2 related to the QOTD n n Q1. #1 How effective do you think the Black Flag roach disk is at killing roaches? u 30% ___, 50% ___, 70%___ 90%___ n n Q1a. #2 A roach disk is a type of product that poisons a roach slowly. The dying roach returns to the nest and after it dies is eaten by other roaches. In turn, these roaches become poisoned and die. n n How effective do you think the Black Flag roach disk is at killing roaches? u 30% ___, 50% ___, 70%___ 90%___ n n Q2. The Black Flag example shows what? u misleading questions 4

5 Remember: where does STS data come from? n Experts and many times surveys n Who are the experts? u many times the sales people and manufacturers are representatives to the consumer u they are the experts, but can misuse the ‘trust’ put in them by the customer 5

6 ex3. A US Air advertisement stated: US Air had the best on-time record of ‘any of the seven largest airlines’ n However, the eighth largest airline at the time, PanAm had the best on-time record 6

7 ex4. A new formula and taste tests n New coke, old coke u Coke in early 1980’s developed a new formula to adjust for the success of competitor Pepsi u 190,000 Taste tests, costing millions of $ showed that people liked new coke better u However, those that voted did not know it would replace, not supplement old Coke u The taste tests were done ‘blind’ to eliminate bias F however, buyers do not buy that way F note: w/out carmel coloring, people mistake coke for sprite u Old coke was removed at first, and then brought back after many complaints 7

8 ex5.Safety n What car is well known for and associated with safety? u Volvo n In 1990, at a ‘Monster Truck’ competition in Vermont, USA, a Volvo remained relatively undisturbed (not wrecked) n An advertisement attempted to illustrate the safety of the Volvo by recreating the event 8

9 Insert Volvo ad here 9

10 How did they show it? n However, to recreate the event on film n The advertising agency/film crew/Volvo u cut the tops of the surrounding cars so that they would collapse more easily u And..... u The Volvo was fixed and reinforced with steel beams inside. u As well, a wooden frame was inserted in the passenger compartment u The photo you see is the one from the ad u The State of Texas sued Volvo, they settled out of court 10

11 n Q.3. Do statistics lie? Are the studies for advertising lies or just misleading? u is it done purposely? u Give an example of deception in advertising of technology and science. n Q.4. Why doesn’t the government do something about it? n First - Course evaluations - u please fill out both….why two? F course is jointly taught by SOSC and ENGG faculty F we will continue the discussion F including Q.3 and Q.4 at :45 min past hour 11

12 Q.4 Why doesn’t the government do something about it? n Though in some instances the government will try to control the advertising claims u ex. smoking ‘Smoking can kill’ n only a small number of ads can be monitored, usually of national scope u because of cost and time for the effort u focus in the past on those that ‘could mislead’ u now usually focus on those ‘likely to mislead’ u The government doesn’t have the capacity to deal with all misleading ads. 12

13 Friday n Last lecture u Continue the discussion ….do statistics lie? u data and evidence in the courtroom u similarities between research for the courtroom and advertising u differences between research for law and research for science n Monday u review for final and return papers 13


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