Some readers might wonder why does the HealthyMemory Blog have postings on statistics and on the display and interpretation of statistics. This is good question. There are at least three reasons why there are statistics postings on this blog.
One reason is that virtually all research into human memory use statistics. I try to spare readers the statistical details unless they are necessary to understand the results of the study. But statistics underlie these studies.
Another reason is statistical ignorance can undo the benefits of large amounts of information that are stored in memory. In these postings you will find examples of physicians giving wrong advice to their patients not a result of lacking or faulty knowledge about medicine, but rather as the result of the improper interpretation and application of statistics. You will also see examples of lawyers making illogical arguments due to an ignorance of statistics. Worse yet, judges and juries fall prey to these errors. We are constantly confronted with decisions we need to make about when to see a doctor, which medicines to take, which foods to eat, and what lifestyle changes should we consider. Typically these decisions require a correct understanding of the statistics that are presented. There is a practical need for all humans to have a fundamental understanding of statistics and an understanding of the errors in statistical reasoning that we humans typically make.
A third reason for postings on statistics is that reading and understanding them builds healthy memories. They provide new information that establish new memory circuits and require your mind to pay attention to and consider issues that have previously been ignored.
So reading and working to understand these statistical postings should help you make best use of the information you have already stored in memory. They should also facilitate your understanding of certain kinds of new information. They should help you make better decisions regarding your life. They should help you make better decisions as a citizen. And they provide exercise to build a healthy memory.
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