Statistics Seminar: "How to Talk about Statistics and Empower the Public to Ask the Right Questions?"

Liberty Vittert, Washington University in Saint Louis

Abstract: Trying to explain your work to the general public can vary between glazed eyes and genuine fear of the subject.  What the public doesn’t understand is that they themselves use statistics and probability every single day- from deciding whether to take an umbrella or which route to drive to work- every person performs some kind of statistical or risk analysis on any given day. 

 This is a subconscious computation, but with the amount of information currently being measured, ‘fake news’ being reported, and a general miscommunication (if not deliberate mislead) of the facts, how do we help the public understand the power of statistics?

 We simplify the numbers enough to empower individuals to feel that they themselves know what questions they should be asking of the data. Sometimes we have to walk a thin line between being “correct” and understandable. How do we do that?

Host: Todd Kuffner