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Conditional probabilities: Insights and difficulties


Book: 
The Second International Conference on Teaching Statistics, 1986
Authors: 
Falk, R.
Editors: 
Davidson, R., & Swift, J.
Category: 
Pages: 
292-297
Year: 
1986
Publisher: 
The Second International Committee on Teaching Statistics
Place: 
Victoria, B.C.
Abstract: 

Conditional probabilities play a central role in the process of inferring about the uncertain world. The formal definition of P ( A / B ) is easy and poses no problems. However, upon careful probing into students' ideas of conditional probabilities, some misconceptions and fallacies are uncovered. In this paper I wish to discuss three issues involving conditional probabilities that I believe require serious consideration and clarification by students and by teachers of probability. These issues are: Interpreting conditionality as causality, problems with defining the conditioning event, and confusion of the inverse.

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