Statistics for sleep and biological rhythms research: From distributions and displays to correlation and causation

Matt T. Bianchi, Andrew J.K. Phillips, Wei Wang, Elizabeth B. Klerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The Journal of Biological Rhythms will be publishing articles exploring analysis and statistical topics relevant to researchers in biological rhythms and sleep research. The goal is to provide an overview of the most common issues that arise in the analysis and interpretation of data in these fields. By using case examples and highlighting the pearls and pitfalls of statistical inference, the authors will identify and explain ways in which experimental scientists can avoid common analytical and statistical mistakes and use appropriate analytical and statistical methods in their research. In this first article, we address the first steps in analysis of data: understanding the underlying statistical distribution of the data and establishing associative versus causal relationships. These ideas are then applied to sample size, power calculations, correlation testing, differences between description and prediction, and the narrative fallacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biological rhythms
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Correlations
  • Mathematical analyses
  • Statistics

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