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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    A famous statistical scare for the left-handed

    British researchers (long ago) decided to see if handedness (as in being left-handed or right-handed) correlated in any way with life expectancy.

    It shouldn't matter, right? At least we'd hope so.

    Their approach was to contact all the hospitals and morgues in the region to ask that the survivors of the recently deceased make contact with them for their study. They asked for two facts about the death:
    What was the age of death ?
    and
    What handedness was the deceased ?

    After collecting extensive data they found the average age of death of left-handed people was younger than right-handed people.

    This difference was statistically significant. In fact, it was as large a deficit of life expectancy as is found among people born with several well-known serious congenital diseases.

    How could this be ? How could being left-handed shorten lives ?
    Let me reassure any worried southpaws out there: Your condition is not killing you !

    Never-the-less, this is what that study found. The study was done in good faith and was conducted in a generally competent and sound manner. The conclusion, however, came to be seen as one of the more infamous incidents in statistical analysis.

    If you know this case, please refrain from any spoiler for now. For the rest of you I ask:

    What went wrong here ?

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger RussB's Avatar
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    Do you "Believe"? Do you vote? Please Read:
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
    DETAIL in your question promotes DETAIL in my answer.
    Dominus Vobiscum <))>(

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    If you can actually believe it or not; There was at one time significant pressure on left handed people in the form of social & religious mores to use their right hand.
    It was a sin to be a lefty.

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    Many left handed children have been forced into right handedness by well meaning, but very misinformed parents. Very cruel IMO, I might add.
    Chuck

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Yeah, you all got it.

    The unconscious assumption was that the rate of left-handedness
    was constant over time, which it isn't due to forced right-handedness.

    Similarly, the average age of death of hip hop stars lost over the last
    two years is considerably younger than that of recently deceased rock stars.
    This isn't because of any difference in the general health or riskiness of the
    lifestyles of either genre, but simply because there pretty much aren't any very old
    rappers. Rap didn't exist in any volume until the mid-80's. Rock was already
    30 years old by then.

    Grats !

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