Measures of

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Measures of




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Measures of Central TendencyDescriptive Statistics Part 1

Cal State Northridge

320

Andrew Ainsworth PhD

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What is a typical score like?

There are three indices of this central tendency:ModeMedianMean

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Measures of Central Tendency

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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The Mode

Mode: most common (frequent) numberPeak of distributionAlways an observed scoreWith grouped data is merely the midpoint of the most frequent measurement class. Thus, if a case were drawn at random from the distribution, that case is more likely to fall in the modal class than any other.Important interpretation

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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How to find the mode?

One Mode

Two Modes

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Problems with the Mode

However, there are three disadvantages with the mode:Multiple modes (especially with grouped data)The mode is very sensitive to the size and number of class intervals (different intervals = different modes)The mode of a sample undependable when estimated population

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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The Median

Median: middle of distribution (50th percentile)Not applicable to nominal data; ordinal, interval & ratio data onlyIs considerably less sensitive when grouping into class intervals.More useful for making inferences (although not the best)Not affected by outliers.

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Median

Median

Balancing Point

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Median

The median requires 1 or 2 pieces of informationIf there are an odd number of scores the median is the center scoreIf there is an even number the median is midpoint between the two middle numbers

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Median

ExamplesData Set 1: {7, 2, 9, 3, 4, 5, 8} Ordered: ________________Median = _______Data Set 2: {11, 15, 10, 9, 5, 13, 12}Ordered: _____________________Median = _______

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Median

Data set 1: {12, 9, 8, 5, 3, 2}Data set 2: {77, 50, 8, 5, 5, 5}

Example: In a six-score set of data the only scores that matter when calculating the median are the two middle scoresThe rest of the data is ignoredBecause of this the median is not sensitive to outlying scores

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Median

The average absolute deviation is smallest when taken from the median.

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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The Mean

Only used for interval & ratio data.Major advantages:The sample value is a very good estimate of the population value.Mean of the sample = Mean of the population =

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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The Mean

ExampleData Set: {3, 4, 6, 10}Formula:

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For the mean the following is always true.*When compared to the other 2 measures of central tendency

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The Mean and Deviations

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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Mean: Demonstration

Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

Since

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The Mean

Mental Note: If the mean is guessed as the value of any case drawn at random from a distribution, on average the amount of signed error will be 0.This is a most important interpretation of the mean and why it’s so most often!DisadvantageHighly affected by outliers

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Psy 320 - Cal State Northridge

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The Influence of Outliers

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Mode, Mean and Median

Mode Median Mean

Positively Skewed Distribution

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Mode, Mean and Median

Mean Median Mode

Negatively Skewed Distribution

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Mode = median = mean?

When the distribution is symmetric

Mean

MedianMode

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The mean vs. the median

The degree of discrepancy between them indicates the skewness of the dataThe closer the two values are the more symmetric the data

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