**People’s intuitions about
randomness AND **

**probability: an empirical
study**

Marie-Paule
Lecoutre

ERIS,
Université de Rouen

marie-paule.lecoutre@univ-rouen.fr

Katia Rovira

Laboratoire
Psy.Co, Université de Rouen

katia.rovira@univ-rouen.fr

Bruno Lecoutre

ERIS, C.N.R.S.
et Université de Rouen

bruno.lecoutre@univ-rouen.fr

Jacques
Poitevineau

ERIS, Université de
Paris 6 et Ministère de la Culture

poitevin@ccr.jussieu.fr

ABSTRACT

What people mean by randomness should be taken into
account when teaching statistical inference. This experiment explored
subjective beliefs about randomness and probability through two successive
tasks. Subjects were asked to categorize 16 familiar items: 8 real items from
everyday life experiences, and 8 stochastic items involving a repeatable
process. Three groups of subjects differing according to their background
knowledge of probability theory were compared. An important finding is that the
arguments used to judge if an event is random and those to judge if it is not
random appear to be of different natures. While the concept of probability has
been introduced to formalize randomness, a majority of individuals appeared to
consider probability as a primary concept.

Keywords: Statistics education research;
Probability; Randomness; Bayesian Inference

**__________________________**

*Statistics Education Research
Journal, 5(1), 20-35, http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/serj*

*Ó International
Association for Statistical Education (IASE/ISI), May, 2006*

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Marie-Paule
Lecoutre

ERIS,
Laboratoire Psy.Co, E.A. 1780

Université
de Rouen, UFR Psychologie, Sociologie, Sciences de l’Education

76821
Mont-Saint-Aignan Cedex, France

http://www.univ-rouen.fr/LMRS/Persopage/Lecoutre/Eris