SPRITE Case Study #3: Soup Is Good (Albeit Extremely Confusing) Food

The fact that I could find an pre-made joke for this speaks to the wonder of the internet.
Table 1; Wansink and Deshpande, 1994
YES, I FOUND A JOKE FOR THIS. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/cd/bf/1c/cdbf1c7edae086879dff71fc267d0ca9.jpg

1. The SDs aren’t that likely either

Some of those distributions, possible as they may be, are verging on a little silly.

2. The ANOVA from the SDs doesn’t return the right F values

It’s easy to run an ANOVA from summary statistics like this, you can do it in Excel or on the back of an envelope. Because it isn’t 1965, I have a little scriptlet which does it for me. Let’s just take the first line of these values, which I’ve highlighted.

3. The rest of the text contradicts the table.

I didn’t read the text carefully enough. Nick Brown, who kindly agreed to read this for me to make sure I wasn’t going mad, pointed out:


Something went badly, badly wrong here.

  • The numbers stated to be standard errors are either unlikely or, more commonly, impossible.
  • Even if we charitably assume the authors meant SDs, a few of the distributions look unusual and concerning.
  • The F-values don’t match the descriptive statistics.
  • The descriptions of the values in text don’t match the table.



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James Heathers

James Heathers

I write about science. We can probably be friends.