Another example comes from a real-life medical study comparing the success rates of two treatments for kidney stones. The table below shows the success rates (the term success rate here actually means the success proportion) and numbers of treatments for treatments involving both small and large kidney stones, where Treatment A includes open surgical procedures and Treatment B includes closed surgical procedures. ...You can get an explanation in the above Wikipedia article, or here.
The paradoxical conclusion is that treatment A is more effective when used on small stones, and also when used on large stones, yet treatment B appears to be more effective when considering both sizes at the same time. In this example, the "lurking" variable (or confounding variable) causing the paradox is the size of the stones, which was not previously known to researchers to be important until its effects were included.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
How Statistics can Mislead
If you think you can draw causal conclusions from study data, consider Simpson's paradox