INTRODUCTION: We have all tried it: it is pouring down with rain, we reach for the keys, and choose the wrong one. The mathematical probability for choosing the correct key - out of two - is 50%. During the 1990s, candy.scient. Jarle Gundersson (JG) proposed a mathematically unexplainable factor of uncertainty. He used the above example with the keys and concluded that the real, or observed, probability for choosing the correct key was 5-10%. The discrepancy between the mathematical and real probability was, according to JG, caused by The Awfulness of Being Concept. In this article, we present the results from a study and demonstrate the difference between the mathematical and the observed probability of success in two different scenarios (winning a coin toss and choosing the correct key in the first attempt). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Questionnaire survey performed at the Regional Hospital of Esbjerg 18-19 September 2009 using staff as questionnaire respondents. RESULTS: We found a discrepancy between the mathematical and observed probability in both scenarios, 64% and 68% of the cases in the two scenarios, respectively. We also found that there is a negative correlation between age and the probability that one will win a coin toss, but a positive correlation between age and choosing the correct key. The results lacked any statistical significance. CONCLUSION: We hypothesised that you will always loose in a coin toss and never choose the correct key when there are two choices. The study demonstrated that this was incorrect, but there was a difference between the mathematical and the observed probabilities in most of the cases.
|Bidragets oversatte titel||Life just is not fair - and statistics do not make it any better|
|Tidsskrift||Ugeskrift for læger|
|Status||Udgivet - 14. dec. 2009|