An inferential confidence interval method of establishing statistical equivalence that corrects Tryon's (2001) reduction factor

Psychol Methods. 2008 Sep;13(3):272-7. doi: 10.1037/a0013158.


Evidence of group matching frequently takes the form of a nonsignificant test of statistical difference. Theoretical hypotheses of no difference are also tested in this way. These practices are flawed in that null hypothesis statistical testing provides evidence against the null hypothesis and failing to reject H-sub-0 is not evidence supportive of it. Tests of statistical equivalence are needed. This article corrects the inferential confidence interval (ICI) reduction factor introduced by W. W. Tryon (2001) and uses it to extend his discussion of statistical equivalence. This method is shown to be algebraically equivalent with D. J. Schuirmann's (1987) use of 2 one-sided t tests, a highly regarded and accepted method of testing for statistical equivalence. The ICI method provides an intuitive graphic method for inferring statistical difference as well as equivalence. Trivial difference occurs when a test of difference and a test of equivalence are both passed. Statistical indeterminacy results when both tests are failed. Hybrid confidence intervals are introduced that impose ICI limits on standard confidence intervals. These intervals are recommended as replacements for error bars because they facilitate inferences.

MeSH terms

  • Confidence Intervals*
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Psychology / methods
  • Psychology / statistics & numerical data