People’s intuitions about randomness AND
probability: an empirical study
ERIS, Université de Rouen
Laboratoire Psy.Co, Université de Rouen
ERIS, C.N.R.S. et Université de Rouen
ERIS, Université de Paris 6 et Ministère de la Culture
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
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ERIS, Laboratoire Psy.Co, E.A. 1780
Université de Rouen, UFR Psychologie, Sociologie, Sciences de l’Education
76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan Cedex, France