Then the probability of the coincidence is 0.005 x 0.01, or 0.0005 which is quite low, but certainly possible. We could similarly estimate the base rate of contact from that friend at 0.01, or 1 time out of 100 contacts. 0 h�bbd``b`��@�� H�|�Y��x��6��$�����8A�k�2�� d12)�La`�����G� �E' She explores the new frontiers of science, delving into ideas that could help uncover the mysteries of our wondrous world. 14 Traits Found in Highly Religious People, Research Suggests That Synchronicities Can Aid Psychotherapy, A New Personality Test Also Gauges Mental Health, Psychology Today © 2020 Sussex Publishers, LLC. calculation. The calculation of the probability of this common coincidence becomes a daunting task. 690 0 obj <>stream So this single thought about your friend, measured against all the thoughts about other people you’ve had over the years, has a pretty low base rate. rare-events. If your friend communicates something of vital importance to you, the coincidence becomes more improbable than if the friend just wanted to say “Hi”? Generally speaking, statistics is concerned with the past (the collected data) while probability is concerned with the future (the likelihood that something will happen). Even if we could solve this problem with complex equations involving time windows and personal meaning, a more fundamental problem precedes the development of the complex equations: how do we determine the actual base rates of each leg of the coincidence? I concluded that base rates, personal meaning and time windows contribute to the probability of a coincidence. This circumstance arises from the possibility that, with certain rational ratios of the periods, the events may "lock in step". The probability of this satisfactory coincidence is first evaluated, and it is found that the solution, while mathematically adequate, is of no value for practical application. We also factor in the length of time since you last communicated with your friend. A Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences (Part 2), A Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences, Part 4. A simple example is the toss of a coin. h��VmO�0�+��*��o�Ry)T&�n��C�^��&U&���s��@��1M�k�|�;�ϓ;m$aDE �&"0�b9�- U }H8לh����'\Y A����p�BH"�U0PDH�0+�"T �%�H� I�� GG�����,���.�t�. Bernard Beitman, M.D., is a visiting professor at the University of Virginia. A small time window (a few minutes or hours) makes the coincidence less probable than an interval of a few days or weeks. The Neuroscience of Feeling Surprised by Unpredictability, The Scarab: Jung Created a Coincidence within a Coincidence. Co-authored by Tara MacIsaac a reporter for the Epoch Times and editor for the Beyond Science section. It is quantified as a number between 0 and 1 (where 0 indicates impossibility and 1 indicates certainty). Used with permission of Dan Hunt, MD. Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis? And what about the importance of the contact to you and your friend? Probability usually, but not always, relies on data from statistics to make its predictions. Probability theory began in the 16th century in attempts to analyze games of chance like dice, playing cards, and roulette wheels.. Time windows. We come to the best possible conclusion about (say) the probability of Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences: What Are the Odds? endstream endobj startxref What are the odds of these two events coinciding? What is the base rate for thinking of a friend? For example, you think of a friend whom you have not thought about in years, and that friend contacts you shortly afterwards. The higher the probability of an event, the more certain we are that the event will occur. He is the former chair of the University of Missouri-Columbia department of psychiatry. Probability is the measure of the likeliness that an event will occur. The frequentists rely on the familiar bell shaped curve while Bayesians insist that subjective estimates of probability play an important role in determining a final probability. PROBABILITY OF COINCIDENCE M A Muller MSc PhD University of Stellenbosch _____ SUMMARY Coincidences are more common than most people might expect. 659 0 obj <> endobj Carrying this banner, I valiantly strode forward into probability’s thicket of mathematical concepts and formulas and emerged to write a report. The purpose of probability theory is to understand randomness and uncertainty to enable us to more accurately predict the future. Then consider the window of time between the thought of your friend and the friend contacting you. The probability is 1/2 (or a 50% chance) of either "heads" or "tails". Base rates. The probability of a coincidence is calculated by first looking at the base rate (frequency of occurrence) of each of the two independent events. The two most prominent current methods are the “frequentist” and Bayesian methods. The probability of a coincidence is calculated by first looking at the base rate (frequency of occurrence) of each of the two independent events. %PDF-1.5 %���� endstream endobj 660 0 obj <>/Metadata 98 0 R/Pages 657 0 R/StructTreeRoot 115 0 R/Type/Catalog>> endobj 661 0 obj <>/MediaBox[0 0 595.32 842.04]/Parent 657 0 R/Resources<>/Font<>/ProcSet[/PDF/Text/ImageB/ImageC/ImageI]>>/Rotate 0/StructParents 0/Tabs/S/Type/Page>> endobj 662 0 obj <>stream Their improbability stimulates wonder—“what are the odds of this happening?” Probability theory, which is a branch of mathematics, promises to shed light on this defining aspect of meaningful coincidences.
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