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Causality, Probability, and Time by Samantha Kleinberg

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Appendix A

A Little Bit of Statistics

We are frequently faced with the problem of determining whether a result is significant. People in a region may seem to have a high rate of cancer, but is it out of the ordinary? Are children much more likely to develop autism after being vaccinated? Which genes are differentially expressed in tumor and normal cells? In most cases, we end up with a numerical result, and must determine a threshold at which to call it significant. As we will see shortly, this becomes more complicated when we test many hypotheses at once, as it is then likelier that we will observe something that seems significant by chance. This chapter reviews the basic concepts in and approaches to evaluating statistical tests. We begin ...

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