Lessons & Questions on: Statistical Literacy


Base Rate, Revisited

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The following insight is an old saw of research on statistical intuition by now, but was revolutionary when Kahneman & Tversky came up with it in the early 70s. It is a good explanation of what goes wrong when we think about prediction. As you consider the next question, please assume that Steve was selected [...]

Specificity and Sensitivity, Visual Explanation

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This is a great walk-through of the issues of sensitivity and specificity in medical test design and interpretation. It is a good supplement to the explanations in this text. Everyone that gets medical tests done or will get medical tests done (which, let’s face it, is everyone) should be familiar with these principles, but it’s often hard [...]


Activity Following “Stocks, Inflows, and Outflows”

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1. Consider the following issue: 17.1. A major controversy has occurred about apparent contradictions in biostatistical data as researchers try to convince Congress to allocate more funds for intramural and extramural investigations supported by the NIH. Citing improved survival rates for conditions such as cervical cancer, breast cancer, and leukemia, clinicians claim we are “winning [...]