Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The law of small numbers

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If he believes in the law of small numbers, the scientist will have exaggerated confidence in the validity of conclusions based on small samples. To illustrate, suppose he is engaged in studying which of two toys infants will prefer to play with. Of the first five infants studied, four have shown a preference for the same toy. Many a psychologist will feel some confidence at this point, that the null hypothesis of no preference is false. Fortunately, such a conviction is not a sufficient condition for journal publication, although it may do for a book.

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, “Belief in the Law of Small Numbers”

Written by nevalalee

March 3, 2018 at 7:30 am

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