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Statistical Significance

  1. C. J. Drew

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0946

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Drew, C. J. 2010. Statistical Significance. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1.

Author Information

  1. University of Utah

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Researchers in psychology, education, and many other scientific fields often employ statistical tests to evaluate the results of their studies. The term statistical significance is commonly used in relation to the results obtained by calculating these tests. If a researcher's results or data achieve statistical significance from these calculations, then the investigator can say with confidence that the outcomes are probably not due to chance. This is very important to the researcher, because if the results are probably not due to chance, then there is basis for interpreting these results as being due to whatever treatment was part of the study. Similarly, if the researcher is investigating differences between genders, data that indicate statistically significant differences can probably be interpreted as reflecting actual distinctions between males and females. In these ways, statistical tests evaluate the results of a study by comparing them to the probability of chance occurrences.


  • statistics in psychology;
  • research methods;
  • statistical analysis;
  • probability and chance