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Topic: Level of Significance
Replies: 5   Last Post: Jan 6, 2000 6:28 AM

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Pat Ballew

Posts: 356
Registered: 12/3/04
RE: Level of Significance
Posted: Jan 6, 2000 6:28 AM
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I think the pyschology here is "no tails" rather than "5% probability" For
instance, I think the number of people who would doubt the run HHTHHHTHHH would
be much smaller. We are more prone to believe in total fraud (a two headed
coin) than in marginal fraud (a coin biased to 75% heads). Something about the
black/white nature of our judgement systems.

Pat Ballew,
Misawa, Jp

"Statistics means never having to say you're certain."


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-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Tiberio <tiberio@tiac.net> at edu-internet
Sent: Wednesday, January 05, 2000 1:39 AM
To: apstat-l@etc.bc.ca at EDU-INTERNET
Subject: Level of Significance


Maybe one of the guru's out there can provide more details about this
story......
As I heard it, Fred Mosteller from Harvard used to bring a two headed
coin to his prob/stat class. He would take it out, flip it and record
the results on the board. After four consecutive heads, about half
the class would raise their hands to question the fairness of the
coin. After the fifth head in a row, the other half of the class
would join them. Pr(4 heads in a row given a fair coin) = .0625 and
Pr(5 heads in a row given a fair coin) = .03125. So apparently most
people start "feeling uncomfortable" somewhere between .0625 and
.03125. So .05 was chosen as a convenient compromise. I do, however,
totally agree with everything Chris said. Statistics means never
having to live or die by .05!

Chuck
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