Paired sample t test - overview

This page offers structured overviews of one or more selected methods. Add additional methods for comparisons by clicking on the dropdown button in the right-hand column. To practice with a specific method click the button at the bottom row of the table

Paired sample $t$ test
Independent variable
2 paired groups
Dependent variable
One quantitative of interval or ratio level
Null hypothesis
H0: $\mu = \mu_0$

$\mu$ is the population mean of the difference scores; $\mu_0$ is the population mean of the difference scores according to the null hypothesis, which is usually 0. A difference score is the difference between the first score of a pair and the second score of a pair.
Alternative hypothesis
H1 two sided: $\mu \neq \mu_0$
H1 right sided: $\mu > \mu_0$
H1 left sided: $\mu < \mu_0$
Assumptions
  • Difference scores are normally distributed in the population
  • Sample of difference scores is a simple random sample from the population of difference scores. That is, difference scores are independent of one another
Test statistic
$t = \dfrac{\bar{y} - \mu_0}{s / \sqrt{N}}$
$\bar{y}$ is the sample mean of the difference scores, $\mu_0$ is the population mean of the difference scores according to the null hypothesis, $s$ is the sample standard deviation of the difference scores, $N$ is the sample size (number of difference scores).

The denominator $s / \sqrt{N}$ is the standard error of the sampling distribution of $\bar{y}$. The $t$ value indicates how many standard errors $\bar{y}$ is removed from $\mu_0$.
Sampling distribution of $t$ if H0 were true
$t$ distribution with $N - 1$ degrees of freedom
Significant?
Two sided: Right sided: Left sided:
$C\%$ confidence interval for $\mu$
$\bar{y} \pm t^* \times \dfrac{s}{\sqrt{N}}$
where the critical value $t^*$ is the value under the $t_{N-1}$ distribution with the area $C / 100$ between $-t^*$ and $t^*$ (e.g. $t^*$ = 2.086 for a 95% confidence interval when df = 20)

The confidence interval for $\mu$ can also be used as significance test.
Effect size
Cohen's $d$:
Standardized difference between the sample mean of the difference scores and $\mu_0$: $$d = \frac{\bar{y} - \mu_0}{s}$$ Indicates how many standard deviations $s$ the sample mean of the difference scores $\bar{y}$ is removed from $\mu_0$
Visual representation
Paired sample t test
Equivalent to
  • One sample $t$ test on the difference scores
  • Repeated measures ANOVA with one dichotomous within subjects factor
Example context
Is the average difference between the mental health scores before and after an intervention different from $\mu_0$ = 0?
SPSS
Analyze > Compare Means > Paired-Samples T Test...
  • Put the two paired variables in the boxes below Variable 1 and Variable 2
Jamovi
T-Tests > Paired Samples T-Test
  • Put the two paired variables in the box below Paired Variables, one on the left side of the vertical line and one on the right side of the vertical line
  • Under Hypothesis, select your alternative hypothesis
Practice questions