Statistics and Perception

I'm always grateful that I was impressed by things I was dumb about. Math and statistics, I mean. I kept demonstrating mathematical genious potential in standardized tests (which I now attribute largely to strategies I developed for test taking, later taught by Kaplan). That, with the attitude that anything I was uncomfortable with in learning could be approached like a monk approaching fasting, led me to keep retaking courses that did major damage to my GPA.

So statistics, I took in high school at the U of A and got a C. I took it again at Carleton, and got a C+. I took it again at the U of A after Peace Corps and got I think an A or a B. I took it a fourth time in the MBA program and I think I got an easy B.

What's important is that you can understand derivatives and quantum physics if you have a general knowledge of stats. You can start to discount things you perceive, and appreciate them but put them in context.

This allows you to see the difference in sports highlights between a home run shown because the story is about David Ortiz (the most underpaid power hitter, dog bites man again) or because a National League Pitcher with a 186 average hits his first home run (man bites dog).

When people read about a stereotype and then see the stereotype reinforced, they can begin to feel more confident in their misperceptions....

Ok had a lot more to say but the presents are being opened and no one understands why I'd be blogging on Christmas morning....

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