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This is a favorite of mine

A rendition of a favorite graph of mine

This example is in a humorous vein (credit goes to a former professor of mine, Steven Gortmaker), but I am also interested in graphs that you feel beautifully capture and communicate a statistical insight or method, along with your ideas about same.

One entry per answer. Of course, this question is along the same line as What is your favorite "data analysis" cartoon?

Kindly provide proper credit/citations with any images you provide.

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Reporting to close as "primarily opinion-based". –  d33tah Jul 24 at 13:51
@d33tah Please see the discussion about this question-become-community wiki on meta: meta.stats.stackexchange.com/questions/2113/…, particularly whuber's first comment to my question. –  Alexis Jul 24 at 16:52
I gather you want an actual token, not your favorite type of graph. –  gung Aug 26 at 2:01
@gung Righty-O. :) –  Alexis Aug 26 at 4:30

3 Answers 3

I think that Anscombe's quartet deserves a place here as an example and reminder to always plot your data because datasets with the same numeric summaries can have very different relationships:

enter image description here

Anscombe, Francis J. (1973) Graphs in statistical analysis. American Statistician, 27, 17-21.

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Excellent. One of the great points in Anscombe's article is that the values of $R^{2}$, $\alpha$, $\beta$, and the $p$-value for $\beta$ are the same on each graph. I have supplemented his quartet in my classes with an omitted variables graph with these properties, also. :) –  Alexis Jul 23 at 19:52

I always enjoy reading this Sankey diagram (a type of flow map) on the French invasion of Russia by Charles Joseph Minard in 1812:

Charles Joseph Minard's famous graph showing the decreasing size of the Grande Armée as it marches to Moscow (brown line, from left to right) and back (black line, from right to left) with the size of the army equal to the width of the line. Temperature is plotted on the lower graph for the return journey (multiply Réaumur temperatures by 1¼ to get Celsius, e.g. −30 °R = −37.5 °C).

enter image description here

(click on image to zoom)

In 2nd position, this 3D pie makes me laugh each time I see it:

enter image description here

It is the perfect example of how misleading a 3D visualization can be: Steve Jobs clearly used a 3D pie chart to make Apple's market share look much larger than it was:

The 19.5% market share slice for Apple's iPhone somehow looks bigger than the 21.2% market share for the mish-mash of "Other" brands.

Same Steve Jobs 3D trick on another slide:

enter image description here

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I hope not to push things here too far toward the humorous side with an early response that's in that vein (+1 for @GregSnow's theoretical answer!), but since I already have an entry in the favorite cartoons thread, I'll add a graph here.

By Jorge Cham of Piled Higher and Deeper infamy, as per the © on on the bottom right margin that I hope I'm respecting! I particularly like the existential crisis bump, because I'm an existential psychologist with interests in motivation and emotion. As such, it's my (un)professional opinion that this is pretty accurate! $\mathbf{\large ☺}$

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stress form the existential crisis is still less than "normal" stress –  Octopus Jul 24 at 21:06
Yeah, I thought that seemed about right. Most people seem to be pretty good at repressing or otherwise setting aside those thoughts after a short phase of sudden insight and self-reevaluation. After all, how much can you really worry about your life choices while you're on vacation? More than this I'm sure, but this seems more normative. Of course, it's all humorous speculation, and probably no more empirical than introspection and informal observation of colleagues/others, but it's got plenty of face validity otherwise. –  Nick Stauner Jul 24 at 21:20

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