atans1

Counterintuitive analysis

In Uncategorized on 03/10/2010 at 6:56 am

Or why Statistics is a profoundly unnatural enterprise for most of us.

Waz wrong with this conventional view? Israeli Air Force flight instructor who told him that whenever he chewed out a student he got better performance the next time out, but whenever he praised a student he got worse performance.

Answer: a student who had just brilliantly executed a maneuver (and was thus praised for it) was less likely to perform better the next time around than a student who had just screwed up. Abnormally good or bad performance is just that — abnormal, which means it is unlikely to be immediately repeated. But … could also see how the instructor had come to his conclusion that punishment worked. “Because we tend to reward others when they do well and punish them when they do badly, and because there is regression to the mean … it is part of the human condition that we are statistically punished for rewarding others and rewarded for punishing them.”

Here’s an interesting piece on why our normal thinking can be wrong especially when statistics are involved. And the comments are worth reading as many disagree with the counterintuitive reasoning of one of the examples.

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