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AP Statistics Section 7.2 B Law of Large Numbers

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The sampling distribution of a statistic is just the probability distribution of the random variable.We will discuss sampling distributions in detail in Chapter 9.

Is it reasonable to use to estimate ? We don’t expect and we realize that will probably change from one SRS to the next. So what could we do to increase the reasonableness of using to estimate ?

This idea is called the The Law of Large Numbers, which says, broadly anyway, that as the SRS increases, the mean of the observed values eventually approaches the mean, , of the population and then stays close.

Many people incorrectly believe in the “law of small numbers” (i.e. they expect short term behavior to show the same randomness as long term behavior). This is illustrated by the following experiment.

How long is your longest string (called a run) of consecutive heads or tails? _____Most people will write a sequence with no more than _____ consecutive heads or tails. Longer runs don’t seem “random” to us.

The probability of a run of three or more consecutive heads or tail in 10 tosses is actually greater than ____. This result seems surprising to us. This result occurs in sports as well with the idea of a “hot hand” in basketball or a “hot bat” in baseball.

Careful study suggests that runs of baskets made or missed are no more frequent in basketball than would be expected if each shot was independent of the player’s previous shots. Gamblers also follow the hot-hand theory, also to no avail.