Re: Basketball pitch ("Steven M. Boker" )

Subject: Re: Basketball pitch
From:    "Steven M. Boker"  <smb3u(at)KIPTRON.PSYC.VIRGINIA.EDU>
Date:    Tue, 8 Aug 1995 11:46:54 -0400

There are several problems being discussed here. First the statistics. If we want to understand the likelihood of "D" we must incorporate both the mean and variance of "D" into the model. But we must also have some sort of control against which to measure the distribution of frequencies in the initial pitch of the chant. Dan Levitan has suggested the distributions of individual mean speaking pitch. This would provide an interesting test. I would suggest that there is far less variance in the "D" of the initial pitch of the chant than in the distribution of individual mean speaking pitch. In this way we could test the difference between the two distributions. An interesting comparison. However, this brings up the second problem. Standard statistical techniques assume independent samples. While each individual's mean speaking pitch may represent an independent sample making up a distribution, the chanting at a basketball game is highly likely to be a self-organizing system. The individual voices in the chant are likely to not be independent samples. Thus, one does not have 10,000 degrees of freedom in the distribution of pitches from the first part of the chant. It is not clear to me how to adjust for this bias which will certainly reduce the variance in the pitches in the chant other than by having a sample of people sing the chant one at a time and comparing that variance to the variance at the game. Steve Boker boker(at)

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