A Bayesian predictive approach for dealing with pseudoreplication

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Pseudoreplication occurs when the number of measured values or data points exceeds the number of genuine replicates, and when the statistical analysis treats all data points as independent and thus fully contributing to the result. By artificially inflating the sample size, pseudoreplication contributes to irreproducibility, and it is a pervasive problem in biological research. In some fields, more than half of published experiments have pseudoreplication – making it one of the biggest threats to inferential validity. Researchers may be reluctant to use appropriate statistical methods if their hypothesis is about the pseudoreplicates and not the genuine replicates; for example, when an intervention is applied to pregnant female rodents (genuine replicates) but the hypothesis is about the effect on the multiple offspring (pseudoreplicates). We propose using a Bayesian predictive approach, which enables researchers to make valid inferences about biological entities of interest, even if they are pseudoreplicates, and show the benefits of this approach using two in vivo data sets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2366 (2020)
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020

Structured keywords

  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • cellular neuroscience
  • statistical methods


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