r/dataisbeautiful OC: 13 Oct 07 '21 Wholesome 12 Hugz 6 All-Seeing Upvote 2 Ally 1 Rocket Like 1 Silver 6 Helpful 19

[OC] How probable is ......? OC

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47.7k Upvotes

u/dataisbeautiful-bot OC: ∞ Oct 07 '21

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7.1k

u/1940295921 Oct 07 '21

25% of the people surveyed apparently didn't speak english and just chose randomly for every word/phrase

2.3k

u/tuesday-next22 Oct 07 '21

There is some wierd smoothing too. Most people would pick whole numbers like 50%, but there are zero peaks in the data.

1.1k

u/QuinZ33 Oct 07 '21

Depends on the survey method. Sometimes this is done with a slider.

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u/Desert-Mouse Oct 07 '21

In another post op showed that was indeed the case.

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u/GradientMetrics OC: 13 Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

It is indeed a smoothed version of the distribution, called a Density Plot. For more information, this website has some pretty good descriptions. In fact, it also documents the Ridgeline graph, which is what we're showing here.

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u/beck1670 OC: 1 Oct 07 '21

But why is the smoothing parameter (bandwidth) so huge? I know in R (ggridges) it tries to use the same bandwidth for all which can be a problem, but I'd still be surprised if any reasonable rule-of-thumb would choose this much smoothing.

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u/logicalmaniak Oct 07 '21

Yeah I'm like, who are these people that think "never" means "75% likely"...?

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u/tacitdenial Oct 07 '21

Are respondents being asked what the words mean or how we interpret them? Interpretation depends on the context about who is speaking and what they're talking about. When someone says 'when pigs fly' I don't necessarily believe them, and I'm a bit less disposed to think they are being rational than if they say 'probably not.'

Perhaps this data indicate respondents are somewhat less contrarian toward positive statements than negative ones.

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u/AlexeiMarie Oct 07 '21

possible case:

guy: "want to go on a date?" girl: "never" guy: yeah she definitely likes me and wants to date me

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u/kingscolor Oct 07 '21

The resolution of the data is indeed 1%

See OP’s other comment

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u/Borghal Oct 07 '21

Why did you choose to use a continuous representation for a discontinuous data set? Or were the poll answers granular to one percent or less?

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u/jReimm Oct 07 '21

Maybe the original survey wasn’t so discrete. Maybe participants were asked to choose from a range of values, instead of any single one. There are a lot more ways to smooth that out instead of just a single probability.

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u/obi-jean_kenobi Oct 07 '21

Also, some of the words here do sit in a gradient of probability and I feel this method of visualisation supports that.

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u/thought_adulterer Oct 07 '21

It was a discontinuous sample, but the population's parameter is continuous

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u/Reatbanana Oct 07 '21

im sure some people would pick between 75-100% for “probably” and so on. the quality of the data doesnt seem that good regardless though

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u/shes_got_a_way Oct 07 '21

My issue is more with the long tails at the bottom. Did people actually answer more than 50% for “never” in any significant number, or is that due to some quirk in the visualization?

I could even see one or two answers like that from someone who just did it wrong, but this makes it look like it’s a non-negligible number of people.

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u/helloitsname Oct 07 '21

A fairly sizable chunk of people picked 100% for “when pigs fly”

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u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 22 '21

[deleted]

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u/Sidd065 Oct 07 '21

What kind of a person reads "Never" and picks 75%?

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u/UnacceptableUse OC: 3 Oct 07 '21

Never say never

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u/hughperman Oct 07 '21

Presumably someone who read the scale backwards.

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u/stan3221 Oct 07 '21

A person who has been cheated on a few too many times.

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u/Waferssi Oct 07 '21

"probably not" and pick >50% like... what?

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u/juckele Oct 07 '21

The more I look at the whole graph, it becomes clear that some block of people picks the certainy of the phrase, not the probability of something happening.

"I will never tango with a bear in a cocktail dress" could be a 25% chance of that event happening, or a 75% chance that it won't happen. All the 'negative' words have pretty significant bumps near 75% and 100% compared to all the 'positive' words, so this isn't "people don't speak english" or "people picking randomly".

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u/GnuPooh Oct 07 '21

An optimist. :)

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u/KILLER5196 Oct 07 '21

I'm never going to get run over by a car

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u/LastOfTheCamSoreys Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

Someone who read the question as “how likely is x going to be true” or something along those lines . Like “when pigs fly” you could be like oh that means that’s 100% never going to happen

You’ll notice most/all the least likely ones have more that voted more likely than vice versa

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u/Shiivia Oct 07 '21

Some people just wants to see the world burn

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u/ellWatully Oct 07 '21

All of the negative likelihoods are skewed heavily towards the positive side as if some of the people being polled were switching the grading scale from "likelihood outcome will happen" to "likelihood outcome WON'T happen" when they got to the negatives. You'd think if people were just being idiots or contrarians, you'd see the same behavior reflected in the positive likelihoods as well.

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u/primenumbersturnmeon Oct 07 '21

yeah they seem to be answering for absolute certainty of the outcome, whether positive or negative.

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u/Pidderman Oct 07 '21 Wholesome

Unlikely outcome.

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u/UnnamedGoatMan Oct 07 '21

On a scale of 1-100 how unlikely was it?

18

u/JesusRasputin Oct 07 '21

Very unlikely

26

u/ohai777 Oct 07 '21

What is that? Like 75%?!

16

u/cgibsong002 Oct 07 '21

Probably not

7

u/ufoicu2 Oct 07 '21

You’re definitely right

5

u/_TheDust_ Oct 07 '21

Press x to doubt.

29

u/ProfessionalGarden30 Oct 07 '21

and "probably not", that literally means that the probability is closer to false so it logically can't be above 50%

9

u/TonyzTone Oct 07 '21

Because it’s vague so some folks consider it to means very low chance while others consider it to be somewhere higher.

“When pigs fly” is interesting because it goes back up at around 75% which is odd.

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u/Yuzral Oct 07 '21

Possibly reflecting the joke about the local police immediately getting helicopters?

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u/dongorras Oct 07 '21

That's the beauty of the graph

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u/swankpoppy Oct 07 '21

“When pigs fly” - 75%!

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u/PastaPinata Oct 07 '21

"When pigs fly? Clearly that means 100%"

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u/bartbartholomew Oct 07 '21

The speaker intended 0%, but we all know people exaggerate. So the speaker intended 0%, but we know the speaker is commonly lying and over stating the probably.

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u/atl_cracker Oct 07 '21

or more likely, this is some measure of misunderstanding percentages.

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u/ChubbyWokeGoblin Oct 07 '21

I agree. This has a chance to be probably likely

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u/oops_all____________ Oct 07 '21

Why does “probably not” have a peak above 50%??

24

u/permalink_save Oct 07 '21

I mean, those made sense to me. Most people might think never means no, but if you were asked the percentage chance some people might say 50% or 75%, not because of the definition of never but the realistic scenario that never is never (heh) never, one of those "always a chance" things. Kind of how, if you design a ratings system for your site, you wouldn't count 1-5 as bad and 5-10 as good, because people rating 5 essentially hate the product. There's that inherent bias that gives ratings a sort of floor (and one method even puts that floor at 8, only 9 or 10 are considered good). Those similar biases affect how we see things like.. "what is the chance of never happening?" We might think, well most of the time that doesn't happen. Others of us think, the definition of never means it can't happen so obviously 0%. That's what I find the most interesting, is the outlier perceptions.

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u/shes_got_a_way Oct 07 '21

I can see putting “never” at more than 0%, but more than 50%? Even if you choose more than 0% because “never say never” that should be like 10% at most.

Someone above said the more likely thing is that some people flipped it for the less likely outcomes. So they answered 95% to mean that “never” equals a 95% chance of an event NOT happening. Though, that still doesn’t explain all the 25%-75% answers. I’m convinced some people just had technical issues with the slider on those.

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u/freddy257 Oct 07 '21

But 75%? Never means 3x more likely than not for some people?

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2.6k

u/NukkaNasty Oct 07 '21 Silver Gold

Lowest one should be when mom says 'I'll think about it"

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u/dublem Oct 07 '21

We'll see

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u/Cryosphered_ Oct 07 '21

"That always means no." - Lenny

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u/m3rcury6 OC: 2 Oct 07 '21

or "we'll play it by ear"... okay, i get it, the topic's just gonna fade into irrelevance before i get a "yes", lol

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u/ThomasSirveaux Oct 07 '21

But my kids always interpret that as absolutely, definitely gonna happen; probability 100%.

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u/richardeid Oct 07 '21 I'll Drink to That

You've given these children hope at some point in their lives. Not sure how old they are but if you cut that off and only show despair you might have a chance to fix them.

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u/RIPDSJustinRipley Oct 07 '21

"we have ____ at home..."

Ain't happening

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u/exaviyur Oct 07 '21

"Ask your mother."

31

u/Jccali1214 Oct 07 '21

Or "go ask your mom"

7

u/JustHere2RuinUrDay Oct 07 '21

Lesbian parents?

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u/muks_kl Oct 07 '21

I just stick to “yeah, nah” and “nah, yeah”. Can’t be clearer on whether something will or won’t happen.

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u/Mackheath1 Oct 07 '21

In Arabic there's "Inshallah" (God willing) which is often used to mean, "yeah, nah."

"I need this done by 4:30."

"Okay, inshallah."

"No, not inshallah, I need it by 4:30"

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u/granatun55 Oct 07 '21

Interesting. The Spanish word for “hopefully” is “ojalá” and it comes from this Arabic phrase.

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u/Mackheath1 Oct 07 '21

Lots of Spanish/Arabic overlap (for many obvious reasons). I like "ojalá" sounds nice.

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u/TheFocusLocust Oct 07 '21

I like almohada myself :)

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u/andreaktor Oct 07 '21

Funnily enough, it's "oxalá" in Portuguese.

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u/datnetcoder Oct 07 '21

Ha, love that last sentence, it perfectly conveys the feel of the phrase.

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u/productivitydev Oct 07 '21

In Wadiya, you can actually say "aladeen", which can take place for both "yes", and "no" at the same time. Listener should infer from context what's the correct one.

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u/tingly_legalos Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

We have saying in the U.S. that's "Good Lord willing and the Creek don't rise". It doesn't have the same meaning, but I think it's cool we have similar phrases for stuff.

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u/Redpandaling Oct 07 '21

Though "God willing" and "yeah, no" mean quite different things in American English. "Yeah, no" is an outright refusal. "God willing" is "assuming nothing goes horribly wrong, yes"

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u/Chinaroos Oct 07 '21

"Yeah, no..." = I understand what you're asking me and the answer is no

"No, yeah--"= Further clarification is not needed, it is agreed.

"Yeah, no, yeah"= I understand what you're asking me and, while it pains me to refuse, the answer is no

"No, yeah, no"= Further clarification is not needed, nor is agreement as we are both already on the same page

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u/phaelox Oct 07 '21

Huh, I would think those last 2 meanings would be reversed. That's some confusing shiz

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u/FoxInCroxx Oct 07 '21

They both seem pretty similar to me, basically “I’ll try but the result depends on things out of my control.”

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u/tingly_legalos Oct 07 '21

I was thinking Inshallah meant more of "I'll get to it when I can", but rereading it, I can see that perspective too. Good point!

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u/cbf1232 Oct 07 '21

Inshallah literally means "if Allah wills it."

In practice sometimes it means it's not going to happen unless there's a miracle.

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u/xantxant Oct 07 '21

The "Creek don't rise" version conveys a hopefulness though. Like, this is not entirely in my control but I want it to happen.

Inshallah is more like rolling your eyes and saying "sure bro."

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u/mattmentecky Oct 07 '21

In what part of the US? I am 38 living in Pennsylvania and I have never heard that phrase.

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u/tingly_legalos Oct 07 '21

In my 20's and in Mississippi, I've been hearing it all my life. It may be a deep south thing, but I've heard it mentioned by people in other parts of the country.

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u/Kazgreshin Oct 07 '21

For WV, heard it before.

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u/ButterbeansInABottle Oct 07 '21

Mississippi here too. Heard it all my life as well. Have said it a lot myself. Still don't know precisely what it means, though. I assume it's like "if it don't come a flood or some other unpredictable disaster between now and then, it'll happen".

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u/freedom_or_bust Oct 07 '21

It's the kind of thing my grandparents used to say, but it's certainly not common anymore. If your folks aren't rural you probably haven't heard it. It is an Appalachian thing though

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u/KamacrazyFukushima Oct 07 '21

Oh, not in Pennsylvania, no. It's an Albany expression.

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u/Vivid_Sympathy_4172 Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

You live too far away from the central/eastern South. You need to be living in the evangelical ex pro slavery states to experience that phrase.

Bless your heart.

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u/pincus1 Oct 07 '21

That's hilarious, I'm gonna start using that as my go-to brush off.

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u/Mackheath1 Oct 07 '21

Oh I do it even though I'm back in the states. At one point, my fiance said, "did you just inshallah me??"

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u/samrequireham Oct 07 '21

“That sounds like a you-and-God problem”

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u/GasTsnk87 Oct 07 '21

Yeah no for sure would be highest on the list.

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u/d_barbz Oct 07 '21

A fellow Australian of high culture I see

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u/10z20Luka Oct 07 '21

We have that in the US/Canada too.

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u/Yadobler Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

Reminds me of this zoodystopia classic, forward to 1:55 and turn on CC if you need some translation

Nabbed som new ciggies (I have obtained a packet of cigarettes)

Farkin'. (Australian sentence enhancer)

Oi does any of youse 'ave a forkin loitah? (could I bother you for a moment with the request to use your lighting device)

yeah, nah

(although I'm aware that you, a female rabbit, have the previously requested lighter, my preconceptions about your gender, height and species, are causing me to reject your offer)

Fuck it. (fuck it)

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u/Drunk_Henri Oct 07 '21

Spoken Finnish also has a phrase for yeah, nah which is "juu ei" or nah, yeah "ei juu"

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u/Morally_Obscene Oct 07 '21

Imagine how shocked I was when the doctor said my dads got a "when pigs fly" probability of surviving.

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u/Cassiterite Oct 07 '21

Maybe your dad was totally fine and your doctor was just one of those people who think "when pigs fly" means 100% ^^

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u/perpetualdrips Oct 07 '21

Come to Cincinnati, we got flying pigs everywhere.

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u/HonoraryMancunian Oct 07 '21

Well there's bound to be a police helicopter in operation sooner or later

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u/notabillionaire__yet Oct 07 '21

To be fair. Its not if, its when. So it must be 100% at some point

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u/primenumbersturnmeon Oct 07 '21

i mean to quote fight club, “on a long enough time scale, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero”. not sure a doctor’s office is the appropriate place for such a memento mori though.

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u/Henriquelj Oct 07 '21

Goth Doctor

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u/BarnieSandlers123 Oct 07 '21

I'm sorry you didn't get the "when hell freezes over" prognosis

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u/abdhjops Oct 07 '21

Where's Indubitably on the chart?

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u/TylerNY315_ Oct 07 '21

Chart stops at 100% so that’s why we don’t see it. “Indubitably” is easily 300%.

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u/quaybored Oct 07 '21

And "Inconceivably" is -4.20x1069 %

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u/MarvinLazer Oct 07 '21

I don't think you know what that word means

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u/atl_cracker Oct 07 '21

or Inconceivable?

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u/TheCyberParrot Oct 07 '21

Why you keep saying that word? I do not think it means what you think it means.

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u/Extra_Intro_Version Oct 07 '21

A few of these have a hint of a second peak around 50%.

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u/WhyAreSurgeonsAllMDs Oct 07 '21

I think it’s an artifact of smoothing - looks likely there’s only real data points every 10% increment? But then smoothed to look more impressive.

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u/Fmeson Oct 07 '21

Honestly, I think there probably are more random answers at 50%. 50% was probably a lot of people's default.

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u/SequesteredInMemphis Oct 07 '21

Nah, OP said that they used 1% increments. I bet people are more likely to estimate percentages using multiples of 10.

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u/Droxxlogo Oct 07 '21

Ah I see you forgot the legendary unknowable "Sure"

That sets the data right off

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u/GoHernando Oct 07 '21

And "totally." And "yeah, no." And "no, yeah."

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u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 26 '21

[deleted]

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u/foppitywop Oct 07 '21

Could just be dumb people polled.

A significantly larger portion of people seem to believe, based on this graph, that “never” means there is a 50-100% chance if it happening.

It’s like they don’t know the definition of never or they were trolling the poll

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u/Laney20 Oct 07 '21

Which makes a good case for excluding those observations. I'll give people some wiggle room on "never" not necessarily being 0%, but it is definitely below 50%, lol. If someone answered 75% on "never", they misunderstood something about what they were being asked to do..

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u/foppitywop Oct 07 '21

Agreed. The only logical explanation is they thought it was”percent chance of it not happening” or they weren’t taking the poll seriously at all.

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u/JC_Fernandes Oct 07 '21

You can see most people are rather pessimistic in the middle tier. For me "has a chance" could mean something from 1-30%. I think people just want to tell it safe so they end up discarding success chances below 50%.

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u/PolkadotPiranha Oct 07 '21

I think it's less to do with something like pessimism, and more to do with the fact that people just have a really hard time wrapping their head around probabilities. It's like people work on

  1. It won't happen
  2. 50/50
  3. It is expected to happen

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u/aCleverGroupofAnts Oct 07 '21

Yeah if people out here are really taking "unlikely" to mean there's a 75% chance, then we really are struggling.

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u/againstbetterjudgmnt Oct 07 '21

Never mind that it looks like someone picked 100%

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u/skucera Oct 07 '21

Those are the people who play the lottery every week.

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u/fishyfishkins Oct 07 '21

Fucking immoral bullshit lottery. Preys on vulnerable people and then, in my state at least, they run god damn ads for it being like "look how much money the lottery has brought in for communities!" but really, it's just fleecing the community and giving them their own money back. It's a hidden tax on the poor that exploits gambling addicts and desperate people.

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u/Somzer Oct 07 '21

"Never" - Probability of it happening: 75%.

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u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21

Don't you know, everything has a 50/50 chance of happening, either it happens or it doesn't.

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u/ThomasHL Oct 07 '21

I think this graphs shows that humans have difficulty grasping that things which aren't favoured to happen can still have a decent chance of happening.

You see it in election polling where any probably below 50% is seen as 'this candidate will lose', even when 30% actually means 'this candidate has a very realistic chance to win'

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u/kUbogsi Oct 07 '21

I think "maybe" for me is more like 30-70 in favor of "no"

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u/benkenobi5 Oct 07 '21

Ask any kid what it means when mom says "maybe" and you'll get solid "no"

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u/Montigue Oct 07 '21

"Maybe" for me basically translates to: we'll see (~25% chance). "Maybe" for my wife is 5% chance

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u/skyblublu Oct 07 '21

What about when mom says "we'll see"

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u/saladroni Oct 07 '21

I fall more on the spectrum of “definitely”: 90-100. Everything else: 0-30

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u/itsfinallystorming Oct 07 '21

Maybe from my wife was 100% no.

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u/ChocolateTower Oct 07 '21

The words "apparently" and "presumably" don't really infer anything about the chances of something being true. You use those words to describe the reason for believing or assuming something is true.

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u/veganzombeh Oct 07 '21

If someone tells me something is "presumably" happening I'm certainly not walking away with 100% confidence.

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u/quaybored Oct 07 '21

You know what they say about presuming... it puts P next to res and um

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u/EndlessBirthday Oct 07 '21

I'm so confused by the inclusion of "apparently." Apparently is an observation after the probability.

"Dad's cheating?"

"Apparently. He and the babysitter are upstairs right now."

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u/TheHeuman Oct 07 '21

That was my first thought.

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u/Mr_Clovis Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

You're right, but the words wouldn't necessarily be out of place in a survey asking these kinds of questions, I think.

For example: "You hear that 'X is allegedly true.' What do you think are the odds of X being actually true?"

The word "allegedly," along with "apparently," "presumably," "supposedly," and others like it, allows you to describe something you have cause to believe is true while still introducing a nebulous measure of uncertainty. These adverbs are very popular in news editing specifically because they're not truth-value statements like you might learn in logic or math, which could get a publication in trouble, but still enable a writer to say "hey, our source suggests this is true, but there's a chance it isn't."

And according to the chart, most people peg that as somewhere between plausibly true and probably true. They might belong to a different category of truth statements but I think their inclusion is still interesting.

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u/Life-Suit1895 Oct 07 '21

"Would you go out with me?"

"Never!"

*looks at graph*

"So there is a chance?"

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u/BigSweatyMen_ Oct 07 '21

People really out here saying "never" means 100% chance?

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u/kp33ze Oct 07 '21

Have you ever interacted with people? We're nuts

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u/thecowmakesmoo Oct 07 '21

"When hell freezes over" is quite likely if you are a Dantes Inferno fan.

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u/GradientMetrics OC: 13 Oct 07 '21

We are obsessed with precision. Unfortunately, language is filled with imprecision. If everyone says they are probably coming to my dinner party, how much charcuterie do I buy? Not to worry, we have some numbers to help estimate the size of your next soiree.

Turns out, definitely does not mean definitely. Although it has the best odds of being true, definitely is only perceived as a 100% guarantee that something will happen for about half of Americans. The next time you host a party, best to ask potential guests to include a percentage of the likelihood they will attend on the RSVP. The worst parties are those that run dry on charcuterie.

-------------

Data collected with Dynata, using a representative panel in addition to weighting the data to census levels.

We asked each respondent how likely something will happen on a scale of 0% to 100%. The response distribition is then plotted for each statement.

Visualization created in R with ggplot2.

Originally sent as part of a free bi-monthly newsletter. Subscribing can be done here if you wish to see more content.

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u/WhyAreSurgeonsAllMDs Oct 07 '21

Is the graph smoothed? What increments were allowed (could I answer 4%)?

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u/GradientMetrics OC: 13 Oct 07 '21

We used a slider from 0% to 100%, but it did have numbers at each increment of 10 (see image).

The distribution plots are indeed smoothed using the ggridges R package.

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u/PeruvianHeadshrinker Oct 07 '21

Did you remove answers that we're obviously random? Like definitely rated lower than when hell freezes over? It seems that could improve your dataset

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u/HappyInNature Oct 07 '21

Yeah, I'm wondering how many people just clicked randomly through it

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u/lesamuen Oct 07 '21

The problem is, there’s no such thing as “obviously random.” There is no way to know whether things that go against common sense are “random” for the sake of it or whether it is truly what the subject believes.

Removing answers in an opinionated manner such as “obviously random” will only add selection bias, furthermore onto the already existing volunteer bias. It will in no way improve the dataset, and will instead make it worse.

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u/PeruvianHeadshrinker Oct 07 '21

There are many statistical methods for dealing with trolls. And yes in this particular example a simple ordering into quarteriles and looking at general trends could identify that. As could variance analyses.

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u/ThunderinSkyFucc Oct 07 '21

Would the slider snap to the 10% increments, or could you choose something inbetween?

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u/GamsusDesign Oct 07 '21

It's odd that the positive answers (above "maybe") are more absolute than the negative answers (below "maybe").. it should be the other way around because a "definitely" is more likely to become a no than a "when he'll freezes over" is to becoming a yes.

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u/cornman0101 Oct 07 '21

Did you have some respondents put 75% for 'never' and 'when pigs fly'? People aren't good at understanding percentages, but this must be intended to mess with your data.

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u/AbrahamLemon Oct 07 '21

What were the options, because it looks like most people answered at 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%

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u/mawmy Oct 07 '21

Not OP, but work in survey research... When given a continual response option, responses tend to cluster around 5s and 10s (especially if you ask age - people just seem to round) so not surprised if that's also the case here.

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u/FitTelephone5 Oct 07 '21

Eh.. there are a lot of problems with language, but I don't think that explains this particular case at all. People are just REALLY bad at handling probabilities in general. If you take a perfectly random number generator, a lot of people (maybe even most people) will think that it's rigged. If language were perfectly precise, people would still completely horribly screw it up in regards to anything involving probability.

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u/AlphaWhiskeyOscar Oct 07 '21

English must be such a pain in the ass to learn as a second language. It has nearly twice as many words than Spanish or French. And so many of them are basically synonyms or phrases that have synonymous meanings. Not to mention slang and dialect. Are you coming to the party?

Yes

Yeah

Yep

I am.

I plan to.

For sure.

Most likely.

Absolutely.

Affirmative?

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u/arthurguillaume Oct 07 '21

it was very easy

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u/mc_it Oct 07 '21

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

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u/LusoAustralian Oct 07 '21

On the other hand English has very simple and basic conjugation and much less ad hoc addition of prefixes and suffixes than in say Portuguese. English grammar is inconsistent but at least the tenses and cases and all that are easy.

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u/Firinael Oct 07 '21

fuck yes, I’m brazillian and can confirm that english is much easier.

there’s just very little complexity to its formal use.

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u/MaxThrustage Oct 07 '21

Yeah, I'm living in Germany now, and German grammar is just bananas. Germans have told me they all find English grammar fairly easy. No genders, you don't need different articles for different cases, etc. (English spelling, on the other hand...)

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u/CumInMyWhiteClaw Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 07 '21

As regards the ad hoc addition of prefixes and suffixes, this is only because English isn't highly agglutinative. In many languages instead of "not eat" it is "eat(not)" where the negative part agglutinates onto the end of the verb.

Things in parentheses are conjugations: "will eat" is "eat(will)". "Will not eat" is "eat(not)(will)." And sometimes even with adverbs and intensifiers: "May absolutely not eat" might become "eat(may)(absolutely)(not)(will)." In some languages the conjugations apply not only to the back of the word but to the front.

Here's an example of the longest Turkish word ever published, which is in fact an extremely agglutinated word:

Muvaffakiyetsizleştiricileştiriveremeyebileceklerimizdenmişsinizcesine

"As though you are from those whom we may not be able to easily make into a maker of unsuccessful ones."

Yes, this is a single word! It stands alone as an adverb in a sentence.

Some languages like German are generally seen as more difficult because of their agglutination, whereas others like Japanese are seen as becoming much easier due to it.

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u/Sriol Oct 07 '21

I had a phone call setting up some insurance the other day, where they'd ask a question, I'd say "yeah" or "yep" and they'd respond "By that do you mean 'yes'?" Of course I mean yes! What else does yep mean?!

But I guess actually, maybe we take for granted that everyone knows that yes, yeah, yep and yup all mean the same. That or they had a policy that only accepted yes/no answers and were told to be clear.

Took me a few questions to stop myself just responding with yep and actually respond yes xD

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u/AfricanisedBeans Oct 07 '21

Yep is also an acknowledgement of a statement in a conversation, so it may not be adequate unless explicitly stated that yep means yes.

Yep. Yep. Uh huh. Okay. Sure, sure.

All of that could easily not be a yes, but just acknowledgement of the question or statement.

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u/antwan_benjamin Oct 07 '21

Probably a legal thing too. Like when you sit in the exit row on an airplane and the flight attendant gives you the whole spiel about helping people off the plane. They require you to say "yes."

I think its because "yeah" and "yep" are used as filler words a lot. They are sometimes used to say "I'm acknowledging I heard what you said" and not necessarily to say "I agree with what you said."

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u/sxjthefirst Oct 07 '21

That made me think how I use these. Yep is an enthusiastic yes , a yeah might as well be a maybe

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u/Cassiterite Oct 07 '21

All languages are like that tbh, this isn't unique to English. But yes, I can confirm it's a pain to learn English as a second language 😬

This is a bit off topic, but consider phrasal verbs: put up with someone, put on a show, put on a pedestal, put someone down, put in effort, probably many more - all mean entirely different things and most have nothing to do with the action of "putting". Those are a huge pain too

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u/Tall_boi150 Oct 07 '21

Nah yeah vs Yeah nah

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u/Reatbanana Oct 07 '21

i remember one of my arabic teachers using that same point, but for arabic. hed argue that whereas english had 2 or 3 ways to say “sit down”, arabic had almost a dozen ways.

just interesting to see that same argument be used in favour of english.

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u/kabadaro Oct 07 '21

As a native spanish speaker, I can say english is slightly easier. Slang and dialect exists in all languages.

All those ways to say yes can also be translated literally to spanish, and are just as common.

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u/Obyson Oct 07 '21

Dont forget how many uses the word fuck has.

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u/SirLich Oct 07 '21

"Has a high chance" is so much lower than "Has a good chance".

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u/informedinformer Oct 07 '21

One in ten chance? Not very likely.

One in a million chance? You can take that to the bank.

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u/A_Martian_Potato Oct 07 '21

I disagree so hard with these people. A 25% chance is plausible. Even a 10% chance is plausible.

If I pick a number between 1 and 10 is it plausible that you could guess the number on the first try? Of course it is.

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u/testdex Oct 07 '21

Winning the lottery with a single ticket is plausible.

It’s highly context sensitive, but these respondents have no idea what the word means.

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u/[deleted] Oct 07 '21 edited Oct 22 '21

[deleted]

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u/fozzyboy Oct 07 '21

50% is equal to a coin flip. "probably" should at least be better odds than that.

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u/Mysterious_Ad_8105 Oct 07 '21

Are you sure you’re not mixing up probable cause and preponderance of the evidence? Preponderance of the evidence means the same thing as more likely than not (that is, anything even marginally greater than 50%), but I’ve never heard the probable cause standard framed in terms of a specific percentage that way.

(That said, I stay far away from criminal law in my practice and haven’t touched the area since the bar exam, so maybe I’m just rusty)

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u/p1um5mu991er Oct 07 '21

This apparently has a chance

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u/LittleBitGhengisKhan Oct 07 '21

Seems to be the odd one out here. Apparently is more of a descriptor than a word of prediction.

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u/alice00000 Oct 07 '21

Must be American English, e.g. “We should definitely hang out some time!” = “When pigs fly”

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u/sarcazm Oct 07 '21

I like how "probably" is more likely than "apparently."

Idk why but I guess because I usually use "apparently" when something is supposed to be true but I didn't get the memo. So it may as well have never existed.

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u/ABrewski Oct 07 '21

So if I say I'm 'apparently' going to be dating Rihanna then there is a 50%+ likelihood of it happening.

Nice

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u/d00ns Oct 07 '21

Some of these words aren't used for probably, but rather hearsay

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u/Skill1137 Oct 07 '21

At my previous company, whenever we were told we would "never" do something. It always ended up meaning we would do that exact thing in about 6 months.

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u/dessmond Oct 07 '21

Is this British English or American English? It is likely that all peaks will move to the left in British English. 😀

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u/KarenFromAccounts Oct 07 '21

YouGov actually did more or less the same study in the UK, with near identical presentation style:

https://yougov.co.uk/topics/science/articles-reports/2020/10/01/how-likely-likely

Would be interesting to compare directly!

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u/DaddyKoolAid Oct 07 '21

That fits much more with how I imagine them. Isn’t culture weirdly pervasive!

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u/Bonsh Oct 07 '21

Why would you choose such a terrible interpolation method that isn't suited to the data?

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u/juntadna Oct 07 '21

"Probably" was really obnoxious when I was sitting Grand Jury. Everyone has a different definition of what it means. I had a feeling most people were on the ~50% line.

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u/ollieollieoxinfree Oct 07 '21

How likely is it that this infographic is purely speculative? Extremely.

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u/LilFingies45 Oct 07 '21

The most unscientific post I've ever seen from this sub. In lieu of any scant explanation of methodology, this data (as smoothed as it is) is as useful as the circumference of my pinky finger.