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Bell Curve, Normal Distribution Defined

By Deb Russell
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Definition: The term bell curve is used to describe the mathematical concept called normal
distribution, sometimes referred to as Gaussian distribution. Bell curve refers to the shape that
is created when a line is plotted using the data points for an item that meets the criteria of
normal distribution. The center contains the greatest number of a value and therefore would be
the highest point on the arc of the line. This point is referred to the mean, but in simple terms it is
the highest number of occurences of a element. ( statistical terms, the mode). The important
things to note about a normal distribution is the curve is concentrated in the center and decreases
on either side. This is significant in that the data has less of a tendency to produce unusually
extreme values, called outliers, as compared to other distributions. Also the bell curve signifies
that the data is symetrical and thus we can create reasonable expectations as to the possibility
that an outcome will lie within a range to the left or right of the center, once we can measure the
amount of deviation contained in the data . These are measured in terms of standard deviations. A
bell curve graph depends on two factors, the mean and the standard deviation. The mean
identifies the position of the center and the standard deviation determines the the height and
width of the bell. For example , a large standard deviation creates a bell that is short and wide
while a small standard deviation creates a tall and narrow curve.
To understand the probability factors of a normal distribution you need to understand the
following rules:
1. The total area under the curve is equal to 1 (100%)
2. About 68% of the area under the curve falls within 1 standard deviation.
3. About 95% of the area under the curve falls within 2 standard deviations.
4 About 99.7% of the area under the curve falls within 3 standard devations.
Items 2,3 and 4 are sometimes referred to as the empirical rule or the 68-95-99.7 rule. In terms
of probability, once we determine that the data is normally distributed ( bell curved) and we
calculate the mean and standard deviation, we are able to determine the probability that a single
data point will fall within a given range of possibilities.
A good example of a bell curve or normal distribution is the roll of two dice. The distribution is
centered around the number 7 and the probability decreases as you move away from the center.
Here are the % chance of the various outcomes when you roll two dice.
2 - 2.78 % 8 - 13.89 %
3 - 5.56 % 9 11.11 %
4 - 8.33 % 10- 8.33 %
5 - 11.11% 11- 5.56 %
6 - 13.89% 12- 2.78 %
7 - 16.67%
Normal distributions have many convenient properties, so in many cases, especially in physics
and astronomy, random variates with unknown distributions are often assumed to be normal to
allow for probability calculations. Although this can be a dangerous assumption, it is often a
good approximation due to a surprising result known as the central limit theorem. This theorem
states that the mean of any set of variates with any distribution having a finite mean and variance

tends to the normal distribution. Many common attributes such as test scores, height, etc., follow
roughly normal distributions, with few members at the high and low ends and many in the
middle.

The Normal distribution

The normal distribution


Definition: A normal distribution is a very important statistical data distribution
pattern. Certain data, when graphed as a histogram (data on the horizontal axis,
amount of data on the vertical axis), creates a bell-shaped curve known as a normal
curve, or normal distribution. Normal distributions are symmetrical with a single
central peak at the mean of the data. The shape of the curve is described as bellshaped with the graph falling off evenly on either side of the mean. Fifty percent of
the distribution lies to the left of the mean and fifty percent lies to the right of the
mean. The mean and the median are the same in a normal distribution.

Definition of 'Bell Curve'

The most common type of distribution for a variable. The term "bell curve"
comes from the fact that the graph used to depict a normal distribution consists
of a bell-shaped line.
The bell curve is also known as a normal distribution. The bell curve is less
commonly referred to as a Gaussian distribution, after German mathematician
and physicist Karl Gauss, who popularized the model in the scientific community
by using it to analyze astronomical data.

Investopedia explains 'Bell Curve'


The highest point in the curve, or the top of the bell, represents the most
probable event. All possible occurrences are equally distributed around the most
probable event, which creates a downward-sloping line on each side of the peak.

Student t Distribution Table

By Courtney Taylor
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Data Analysis

This table is a compilation of data from the Student t distribution. Anytime that a t-distribution is
being used, a table such as this one can be consulted to perform calculations. This distribution is
similar to the standard normal distribution, or bell curve, however the table is arranged
differently than the table for the bell curve. The table below provides critical t-values for a
particular area of one tail (listed along the top of the table) and degrees of freedom (listed along
the side of the table). Degrees of freedom range from 1 to 30, with the bottom row of "Large"
referring to several thousand degrees of freedom.

Critical Values of t Distribution


t

0.40

0.25

0.10

0.05

0.025

0.01

0.005

0.0005

0.32492 1.00000 3.07768 6.31375 12.7062 31.8205 63.6567 636.619


0
0
4
2
0
2
4
2

0.28867 0.81649 1.88561 2.91998


4.30265 6.96456 9.92484 31.5991
5
7
8
6

0.27667 0.76489 1.63774 2.35336


3.18245 4.54070 5.84091 12.9240
1
2
4
3

0.27072 0.74069 1.53320 2.13184


2.77645 3.74695 4.60409 8.6103
2
7
6
7

0.26718 0.72668 1.47588 2.01504


2.57058 3.36493 4.03214 6.8688
1
7
4
8

0.26483 0.71755 1.43975 1.94318


2.44691 3.14267 3.70743 5.9588
5
8
6
0

0.26316 0.71114 1.41492 1.89457


2.36462 2.99795 3.49948 5.4079
7
2
4
9

0.26192 0.70638 1.39681 1.85954


2.30600 2.89646 3.35539 5.0413
1
7
5
8

0.26095 0.70272 1.38302 1.83311


2.26216 2.82144 3.24984 4.7809
5
2
9
3

10

0.26018 0.69981 1.37218 1.81246


2.22814 2.76377 3.16927 4.5869
5
2
4
1

11

0.25955 0.69744 1.36343 1.79588


2.20099 2.71808 3.10581 4.4370
6
5
0
5

12

0.25903 0.69548 1.35621 1.78228


2.17881 2.68100 3.05454 4.3178
3
3
7
8

13

0.25859 0.69382 1.35017 1.77093


2.16037 2.65031 3.01228 4.2208
1
9
1
3

14

0.25821 0.69241 1.34503 1.76131


2.14479 2.62449 2.97684 4.1405
3
7
0
0

15

0.25788 0.69119 1.34060 1.75305


2.13145 2.60248 2.94671 4.0728
5
7
6
0

16

0.25759 0.69013 1.33675 1.74588 2.11991 2.58349 2.92078 4.0150

17

0.25734 0.68919 1.33337 1.73960


2.10982 2.56693 2.89823 3.9651
7
5
9
7

18

0.25712 0.68836 1.33039 1.73406


2.10092 2.55238 2.87844 3.9216
3
4
1
4

19

0.25692 0.68762 1.32772 1.72913


2.09302 2.53948 2.86093 3.8834
3
1
8
3

20

0.25674 0.68695 1.32534 1.72471


2.08596 2.52798 2.84534 3.8495
3
4
1
8

21

0.25658 0.68635 1.32318 1.72074


2.07961 2.51765 2.83136 3.8193
0
2
8
3

22

0.25643 0.68580 1.32123 1.71714


2.07387 2.50832 2.81876 3.7921
2
5
7
4

23

0.25629 0.68530 1.31946 1.71387


2.06866 2.49987 2.80734 3.7676
7
6
0
2

24

0.25617 0.68485 1.31783 1.71088


2.06390 2.49216 2.79694 3.7454
3
0
6
2

25

0.25606 0.68443 1.31634 1.70814


2.05954 2.48511 2.78744 3.7251
0
0
5
1

26

0.25595 0.68404 1.31497 1.70561


2.05553 2.47863 2.77871 3.7066
5
3
2
8

27

0.25585 0.68368 1.31370 1.70328


2.05183 2.47266 2.77068 3.6896
8
5
3
8

28

0.25576 0.68335 1.31252 1.70113


2.04841 2.46714 2.76326 3.6739
8
3
7
1

29

0.25568 0.68304 1.31143 1.69912


2.04523 2.46202 2.75639 3.6594
4
4
4
7

30

0.25560 0.68275 1.31041 1.69726


2.04227 2.45726 2.75000 3.6460
5
6
5
1

Larg 0.25334 0.67449 1.28155 1.64485


1.95996 2.32635 2.57583 3.2905
e
7
0
2
4