Statistics is a science that deals with data. Data can be defined as a collection of facts, numerically expressed for comparison purposes. Data is collected and stored for analyzing the past behavior and use it to predict the future. The human mind is curious to know the future. We do not like to deal with uncertainties.
Human life is very unpredictable. No one on earth is certain that he or she will be alive the next moment. But, we see that people always plan for the next 30 or years ahead. Hence, it is no surprise that the human mind is obsessed with predicting the future behavior. For predicting the future, one must have adequate knowledge about past behavior. To understand the past behavior, a pattern must be established. A pattern cannot be established based on a one time occurrence. Thus comes the need for collecting data. Only when we are in possession of a fairly large volume of data, an attempt can be made to analyses the past behavior. It is only then, prediction can be thought of.
The Human Mind
The human mind is the best statistician in the world. Every single occurrence of any incident, however trivial it may be, is faithfully recorded. The data is treated as dynamic because when a similar incident occurs again, the behavior of the data is automatically updated. Once a pattern of behavior is firmly established, the human mind recognizes the signal and helps us to decide our response or reaction.
Let me illustrate this with an example. Each one of us must have experienced this not just once but many more times as we grew up.
As a child, each one of us would have had an occasion to ask for something from our parents. It is also a fact that every time you ask for something, you don’t get it. But asking for something is an incident and getting it or not getting it is also an incident. The beauty of the human mind is that it records the occurrence of every such incident and uses that to update the past behavior of such incidents instantly.
When you ask for something, the human mind also records your behavior at the time of asking. It also records the response to that incident and the signals that go with it. To illustrate it further, as a child if you just ask and left it or if you cried and then got it or if you threw tantrums and then succeeded, everything is recorded. Based on this analysis, the next time you ask for something you decided to just ask for it or cry or throw tantrum etc.
On a repeat of several such incidents, if it is established that tantrums wont work, then you decide against tantrums to get things done. On the other hand, if you found out that only tantrums did work, then you grow up throwing tantrums every time.
As an adolescent, when you try to establish contact with a member of the opposite sex, you keep observing and look for positive or negative signals before you take the plunge. Thus at every stage, the human brain acts as a brilliant statistician by recording every incident and then do an instant pattern analysis and keep updating. Thus it is always ready to help you decide the way you want. If the decision is right, the result is a success. Otherwise, it is a failure. The success or failure also establishes a pattern and finally, one is able to predict human behavior given a set of certain events.
The pattern analysis is a big step in predicting the future. However, the data keeps changing and is dynamic. Hence, there will always be a minor change in the pattern. Continuous change (however minor it may be) finally settles down to a new pattern. As we already know that change is the only constant in this world. hence, it is very difficult to predict the future with absolute certainty.
It is for this reason, one must learn and understand the concept of Probability.
To know more about Probability and understand the basic concepts etc, please subscribe to the next level of membership