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.