Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Null Hypothesis

  • Tom BoothEmail author
  • Alex Doumas
  • Aja Louise Murray
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1335-1


In formal hypothesis testing, the null hypothesis (H0) is the hypothesis assumed to be true in the population and which gives rise to the sampling distribution of the test statistic in question (Hays 1994). The critical feature of the null hypothesis across hypothesis testing frameworks is that it is stated with enough precision that it can be tested.


A hypothesis is a statement or explanation about the nature or causes of some phenomena of interest. In the process of scientific study, we can distinguish two forms of hypotheses. A research hypothesis poses the question of interest, and if well stated, will include the variables under study and the expected relationship between them. A statistical hypothesis translates the research hypothesis into a mathematically precise, statistically testable statement concerning the assumed value of a parameter of interest in the population. The null hypothesis is an example of a statistical hypothesis.

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  3. Hays, W. L. (1994). Statistics (5th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
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  5. Szucs, D., & Ioannidis, J. P. A. (2016). When null hypothesis significance testing is unsuitable for research: A reassessment. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/095570.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Violence Research Centre, Institute of CriminologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Matthias Ziegler
    • 1
  1. 1.Humboldt University, GermanyBerlinGermany