The Solzhenitsyn Finger Test: A significance test for spontaneous recovery

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Abstract

Spontaneous recovery is generally considered to be an unreliable phenomenon, but it is argued that this is because of the fact that an inappropriate significance test has been used in past research. An example from A. Solzhenitsyn's book August 1914 is used to illustrate this problem. The research hypothesis states that spontaneous recovery is a monotonic function of time. Time is an ordered continuous variable; it flows steadily in one direction. The interaction test that has been traditional, however, is only appropriate for an unordered discrete variable. To illustrate this point, the study most frequently cited as evidence against spontaneous recovery was retested with significance tests appropriate for an ordered variable (specifically, the correlation coefficients tau and rho), and the findings are shown to be evidence for, not against, a recovery effect. (11 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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