Facial soft tissue thicknesses: noise, signal, and P

Stephan, Carl N., Munn, Lachlan and Caple, Jodi (2015) Facial soft tissue thicknesses: noise, signal, and P. Forensic Science International, 257 114-122. doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2015.07.051

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Author Stephan, Carl N.
Munn, Lachlan
Caple, Jodi
Title Facial soft tissue thicknesses: noise, signal, and P
Formatted title
Facial soft tissue thicknesses: noise, signal, and P
Journal name Forensic Science International   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1872-6283
Publication date 2015-12
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1016/j.forsciint.2015.07.051
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 257
Start page 114
End page 122
Total pages 9
Publisher Elsevier Ireland
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Facial soft tissue thicknesses (FSTTs) hold an important role in craniofacial identification, forming the underlying quantitative basis of craniofacial superimposition and facial approximation methods. It is, therefore, important that patterns in FSTTs be correctly described and interpreted. In prior FSTT literature, small statistically significant differences have almost universally been overemphasized and misinterpreted to reflect sex and ancestry effects when they instead largely encode nuisance statistical noise. Here we examine FSTT data and give an overview of why P-values do not mean everything. Scientific inference, not mechanical evaluation of P, should be awarded higher priority and should form the basis of FSTT analysis. This hinges upon tempered consideration of many factors in addition to P, e.g., study design, sampling, measurement errors, repeatability, reproducibility, and effect size. While there are multiple lessons to be had, the underlying message is foundational: know enough statistics to avoid misinterpreting background noise for real biological effects.
Keyword Craniofacial identification
Facial approximation
Facial reconstruction
Scientific inference
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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