Archive for the 'Statistical Reasoning' category

The normal distribution, multiple comparisons and risks of false alarm

I often think to myself that if we could effectively teach one single concept to all citizens, get them to really understand it and apply it to life we would all be better off. It has relevance for so many facets of our public and private decision making; ofttimes ignorance of this concept makes for a dismal political or personal outcome.
Brazillion Thoughts has an English-language translation of a post originally written by Karl at Ecce Medicus.
The traslation reads in part:

Many times, in my practice, I am required to explain some statistical concepts to my patients in order to make them avoid some frequent pitfalls. The most common concept I explain is what is "normal" in lab exams. Let's suppose someone invents a new lab test to measure the glucose in the blood. How would we determine what are the normal values for this test?

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