An Investigation of Basic Probability Operations Using AND and OR Operations
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The purpose of this thesis was to observe people’s abilities to compute probability problems at a fundamental level. The problems in this study were presented in an abstract format to ensure non-ambiguity in its interpretation. The study was administered to university level students. The focus was to determine people’s ability to answer probability questions that combined the probabilities of two single events, using the most basic types of operations: AND and OR. The study found that while most people were able to compute AND type probability questions, most had trouble with OR operations. Of special interest was a switching strategy that was employed in computing OR operations as the probability of a single event varied. The study also revealed that statistically sophisticated people were able to adopt the mindset of people who were statistically naïve. Further research is required in order to develop a better framework in understanding people’s logical process of computing these basic probability questions as well as its application to our everyday lives.