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INVERSE PROBABILITY

Statistics Directorate    
French Equivalent: Probabilité inverse

Definition:
The probability approach which endeavours to reason from observed events to the probabilities of the hypotheses which may explain them, as distinct from direct probability, which reasons deductively from given probabilities to the probabilities of contingent events.

Context:
The word “inverse” usually means inverse in some logical relationship but is sometimes used in the sense of “prior in time”. For example, in connection with the analysis of stochastic processes, it is sometimes desirable to consider the past history of a system rather than its future development. The past probabilities of transition which have given rise to the present state are thus sometimes called “inverse”. This usage is comparatively rare and not to be recommended.

Source Publication:
A Dictionary of Statistical Terms, 5th edition, prepared for the International Statistical Institute by F.H.C. Marriott. Published for the International Statistical Institute by Longman Scientific and Technical.

Cross References:
Direct probability

Statistical Theme: Methodological information (metadata)

Created on Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Last updated on Tuesday, April 29, 2003