Beyond differences in means: robust graphical methods to compare two groups in neuroscience

Guillaume A Rousselet, Cyril R Pernet, Rand Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


If many changes are necessary to improve the quality of neuroscience research, one relatively simple step could have great pay-offs: to promote the adoption of detailed graphical methods, combined with robust inferential statistics. Here we illustrate how such methods can lead to a much more detailed understanding of group differences than bar graphs and t-tests on means. To complement the neuroscientist's toolbox, we present two powerful tools that can help us understand how groups of observations differ: the shift function and the difference asymmetry function. These tools can be combined with detailed visualisations to provide complementary perspectives about the data. We provide implementations in R and Matlab of the graphical tools, and all the examples in the article can be reproduced using R scripts. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
Early online date29 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Journal Article

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