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Lecture 4

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University of Toronto St. George
Gillian Rowe

PSY220LECTURE 4Chapter 4 Variability VariabilityA distribution only partially described through a measure of central tendencyTypically describe distribution in terms of central tendency and variabilityCentral tendency measures describe some average of scores in a distributionvariability tells us how much those scores differ from the average Measures of variability describe how much scores differ from that averageThe goal for variability is to obtain a measure of how spread out the scores are in a distribution A measure of variability usually accompanies a measure of central tendency as basic descriptive statistics for a set of scoresCentral Tendency and VariabilityCentral tendency describes the central point of the distribution and variability describes how the scores are scattered around that central pointTogether central tendency and variability are the two primary values that are used to describe a distribution of scores Measure of central tendency not enough to describe a distribution accuratelyVariabilitydistributions differ from each other in terms of how much the scores are deviating from the mean away from the meanaverageVariabilityVariability serves both as a descriptive measure and as an important component of most inferential statistics As a descriptive statistic variability measures the degree to which the scores are spread out or clustered together in a distribution In the context of inferential statistics variability provides a measure of how accurately any individual score or sample represents the entire populationwe cant test an entire population but we believe a sample will be representative of the entire population When the population variability is small all of the scores are clustered close together and any individual score or sample will necessarily provide a good representation of the entire setWhen variability is large and scores are widely spread it is easy for one or two extreme scores to give a distorted picture of the general population
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