Monday, August 20, 2012

Don't get theoretical probability and experimental probability confused. 

Theoretical probability is the probability you'd expect from the outcome of an event based on theoretical principles.

For example, if you roll a fair 6 sided die, theoretically each side is equally likely to land face up. So the theoretical probability of obtaining a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 is 1/6.

The experimental probability would occur when actually rolling the die a certain number of times and seeing how many times each side landed face up.  If you roll the die 10 times and a 1 lands face up 2 times, the experimental probability is 2/10, or 1/5. This is slightly higher than the theoretical probabiliy of 1/6.


  1. Thanks for clearing my doubt about it.Probability is my favorite topic of mathematics and I didn't knew about this difference.
    Exponential Decay Formula

  2. You're welcome Manoja and thanks for the link to the exponential decay formula.

  3. Statistics is definitely not my strong suit. You would think just from the names there is an obvious difference, but I wouldn't have put it together without looking at it here. In most classes on statistics you are really only taught theoretical probability, and they just lump it into one term "probability". At least that's what they did in my Statistics class.