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# Beware of apophenia!

Topic closed. 12 replies. Last post 8 years ago by Raven62.

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Poland
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June 3, 2009
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 8:45 am - IP Logged

Hello!

All lotto analysts and lotto players are vulnerable to dangerous disease: apophenia.

At least this state of mind is attributed as disease - but is it really?

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According to its definition from Wikipedia, "apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns

or connections in random or meaningless data.

In statistics, apophenia would be classed as a Type I error (false positive, false alarm,

caused by an excess in sensitivity)".

But what randomness really is? And what probability is, then?

I think that some of us are stuck with definitions, which are irrelevant to gambling.

We use words "random" and "probability" often, but what hides behind these words?

I did a little research on subject. And I found that there are many interpretations of randomness,

and yes, also many interpretations and models of probability. Just search the Wikipedia

for term "Probability interpretations" or analyze the article on randomness - with its discussion!

We shouldn't be so sure that we use the most relevant and effective model.

Can we even say that any data is meaningless? Meaningless data for one person

can be very meaningful for another one. Or encrypted data: it is meaningless and random

(even for special randomness tests!) without the correct encryption key. But if key is used,

apparent randomness becomes fully understandable data.

Many of us are searching for some "vector", which - when applied to results of

previous lotto draws - can point to the future results.

Impossible?

No. It is possible. In infinity of ways. And infinity of such ways will be valid only once.

Maybe it is good to check our fundamentals.

Sirvalebeos

North Carolina
United States
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March 29, 2008
33494 Posts
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 8:55 am - IP Logged

Thanks Sirvalebeos, you have given us something to think about!

New York, NY
United States
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May 16, 2006
2699 Posts
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 9:01 am - IP Logged

There is a running debate among psychiatrists whether apophenia is a true mental disorder.

All religious peoples would become immediate patients. Perceiving a "god" or answers to prayer or miracles in a  universe "governed" by chance, caprice and natural selection would fall under this rubric.

Notice that in Stats a hypothesis is apophenic only when the data under consideration is in fact random. A rigged lottery or those ubiquitous computerized drawings would be exceptions.

So to preserve cognitive consonance and to avert a charge that you are going bonkers just insist that you think the lottery is not random.

\$\$\$

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Poland
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June 3, 2009
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 9:31 am - IP Logged

I could say that lottery is random or it is not random. First I want to be really sure what "random" means.

Then I want to know, is there any full scientific agreement about meaning of "probability".

If science has no agreement about these terms, and we are dealing with "probability" of "random"

events, then we are doubly lost. Or maybe we should find our own ways.

By the way: isn't the science as a whole one big epidemy of apophenia? Thousands and thousands

of people searching for patterns and laws and firmly believing that every phenomena is governed

by some law, mathematically expressed.

We all are scientists here. Our area of interest is just more exotic.

Sirvalebeos

New Jersey
United States
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June 28, 2005
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 9:51 am - IP Logged

Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. The term was coined by K. Conrad in 1958.

Brugger's research indicates that high levels of dopamine affect the propensity to find meaning, patterns, and significance where there is none, and that this propensity is related to a tendency to believe in the paranormal.

Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct.

Sympathetic magic is based on the metaphysical belief that like affects like.

Synchronicity is an explanatory principle, according to its creator, Carl Jung. Synchronicity explains "meaningful coincidences".

Learning to recognize apophenia is important, as it is a good idea to be able to distinguish between true patterns and mere coincidence. This distinction is especially crucial in the sciences, where type I errors can radically skew experiment results, especially when people make subtle adjustments to reinforce their ideas. As a general rule, if you keep noticing the same number, symbol, pattern, sound, or event in your life, it is probably a case of apophenia; you might want to seek out evidence which contradicts your impression of a pattern or connection.

A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

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Poland
Member #75421
June 3, 2009
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 12:26 pm - IP Logged

Raven62,

Your argument "The mathematical conceptions of randomness involve deviations fromdistributions which are infinite in size. No empirical process can betested against this idealized notion of randomness because we can'tcollect an infinite number of data points." is very well aimed.

Do you know Alan Hajek's arguments against frequentism and other simplified views on randomness and probability?

Google for "Alan Hajek" and read "Fifteen Arguments Against Hypothetical Frequentism" on his page.

It contains almost the same argument,  expressed using such words:

"For each infinite sequence that gives rise to a non-trivial limiting relative frequency,
there is an infinite subsequence converging in relative frequency to any value you
like (indeed, infinitely many such subsequences). And for each subsequence that
gives rise to a non-trivial limiting relative frequency, there is a sub-subsequence
converging in relative frequency to any value you like (indeed, infinitely many sub-
subsequences). And so on."

and

"The problem of necessarily single-case events, and of uncountably many events,
are two ends of a spectrum. HF speaks only to the ‘middle’ cases in which
denumerable sequences of trials of the relevant kind are both possible and
exhaustive. But probabilities should not be held hostage to these seemingly

What branch of mathematics we can find usable? Chaos theory is probably

useless, because of high sensitivity of initial conditions. Methods related

to neural networks often require very large computing power, crucial is data

preprocessing. This is rather not "do it yourself" field.

What i think is that first we should analyse the system we are working with.

"Know your enemy". Patterns in lottery results are not only because of

machines/balls chararacteristics. They are mainly because of overall

characteristic of used system. Simple example: Lottery of 6/49 type, no bonus balls.

There is one odd number more than even numbers in full set. And this fact biases

drawing results. This bias is not because of machine/balls. It comes from pure

mathematics, it is contained in the set of numbers used. Machine is the source

of distortion in such "ideal", "primal" characteristics. We can say that machine

is some kind of filter or scrambler of initial characteristic.

My approach is to first deep explore the attributes of "ideal" system, and then

compare them with "machine output". The difference between these characteristics

is pure machine input. It comes from all those physical conditions, present during

the draw. Instead of fighting with the system as a whole, we could focus on

cleaning our model from perturbations introduced by machine. Currently we see

two pictures intermingling one with other. Our goal could be to separate these

pictures.

Sirvalebeos

Dallas, TX
United States
Member #60284
April 12, 2008
3856 Posts
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 2:43 pm - IP Logged

Perhaps the apophenia can help us win.

Chief Bottle Washer
New Jersey
United States
Member #1
May 31, 2000
23829 Posts
Online
 Posted: June 4, 2009, 3:22 pm - IP Logged

I could say that lottery is random or it is not random. First I want to be really sure what "random" means.

Then I want to know, is there any full scientific agreement about meaning of "probability".

If science has no agreement about these terms, and we are dealing with "probability" of "random"

events, then we are doubly lost. Or maybe we should find our own ways.

By the way: isn't the science as a whole one big epidemy of apophenia? Thousands and thousands

of people searching for patterns and laws and firmly believing that every phenomena is governed

by some law, mathematically expressed.

We all are scientists here. Our area of interest is just more exotic.

Sirvalebeos

I would say that "true randomness" is where any outcome has the exact same chance of happening, and there is no external influence on the outcome of the event.

Over time, a truly random sequence of events will tend to fall in line with the odds of each possibility, which is one of the many reasons why lottery players feel that tracking past drawings is an important factor in choosing numbers for an upcoming drawing.  Even though each number in the upcoming drawing is random (supposedly), if one looks at the drawing history, it is not unreasonable to think that certain numbers are more probable than others.

Check the State Lottery Report Card

Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
Help eliminate computerized drawings!

Dump Water Florida
United States
Member #380
June 5, 2002
3157 Posts
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 4:39 pm - IP Logged

I would say that "true randomness" is where any outcome has the exact same chance of happening, and there is no external influence on the outcome of the event.

Over time, a truly random sequence of events will tend to fall in line with the odds of each possibility, which is one of the many reasons why lottery players feel that tracking past drawings is an important factor in choosing numbers for an upcoming drawing.  Even though each number in the upcoming drawing is random (supposedly), if one looks at the drawing history, it is not unreasonable to think that certain numbers are more probable than others.

Lottery drawings are random enough to conduct a lottery.

Some numbers have certainly proven to be more probable up to now.

Looking at a hundred draws since the last ballset collection change out, and seeing how the more and less drawn numbers do for the next 100 draws I've found they tend to continue their more and less drawn ratio until the ballsets are once again replaced resulting in a third of each group changing to another rate of draw.   This is Florida, your mileage may vary.

The Pick-3 game is certainly predictable, not always to profitability with the small return, but winning every couple of days isn't impossible.

BobP

Zeta Reticuli Star System
United States
Member #30470
January 17, 2006
10505 Posts
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 Posted: June 4, 2009, 11:54 pm - IP Logged

Sirvalebeos

According to its definition from Wikipedia, "apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

Gee, the main character in the TV Series NUMB3RS sees patterns in everything!

Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

United States
Member #54390
August 17, 2007
313 Posts
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 Posted: June 5, 2009, 12:27 am - IP Logged

Perhaps the apophenia can help us win.

HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Honduras
Member #20982
August 29, 2005
4715 Posts
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 Posted: June 5, 2009, 8:26 am - IP Logged

Want to know something weird, for years i've battled with Carl Jung Sinchronicity, because it happens to me a lot, well it used to not as much nowadays...when it happens to me i get SO MAD because my head can't take it...

Want to know something interesting...like 8 years ago i had just gotten out of the Navy Bootcamp in Great Lakes, Illinois close to Chicago and we were told we could go out and have fun or go anywhere we wanted to so i chose to go and watch a movie in the mall and i went and see the movie with Mel Gibson & Joaquin Phoenix and i think Dakota Fanning about Aliens in the cornfield, well after i finish watching that movie I kept thinking of a girl i like a lot named Rebecca Hobbe, i kept even thinking about her before i went and see the movie...So i walk around the mall that was very big and decided to stop at a bookstore the bookstore was big it had all sorts of books i didn't know which one to pick, so i chose 2 books, well i can't remember if it was the first book i opened or the second book i open but when i will open this book i will only open it 3 times on different pages and then i'll put the book back where it belong...Well the second opening i was reading one page of the book to see if i will like it, and there it was the name: "Hobbe".....Now HOW GOD <snip> common is that that last name and out of many books i only chose 2 books....Is that a coincidence because for that to happen you had had to win Powerball 4 times in a row with 1 ticket....There is no way that's coincidence...

Also one time i was at my father's house and he had an alphabetical encyclopedias, i chose to look for something i was thinking about to read about it and i remember clearly that there was the name of someone being mentioned as "shapiro" [minister or secretary of an age past] not many times i read the encyclopedia and you have to undestand there are 26 encyclopedias for ever letter of the alphabet what i did next was put down the encyclopedia after i finish reading and i turn on the TV, it was at night i turn on the TV and put it on CNN, in that instant there was CNN commentator named "Shapiro"...Coincidence...I have watch CNN ever since and the name Shapiro has come out only twice on those 8 years...

One time before i join the Navy years before i join the name, i will walk 2 miles to Walmart and buy me my favorite book, well i went to walmart picked one book and started walking back home...I am someone who likes to memorized big dictionary words so before i went to walmart i had a page with some words i was memorizing that i left at home but i remember the word "Faberglasted or discombobulated" one of those 2 or however you spell them, i am walking home and i was going by a creek passing a creek, something told me to open the bag and check out the book so as usual i open it 2 or 3 times on different pages and there it was the word either Faberglasted or discombobulated".....Again what are the odds....

This has let me to believe that there is a "spirit" or ghost in ramdonness, kind of like the ghost in the machine if you seen the anime "Ghost in the shell"...

Again all this coincidence and all 3 to the same person....And by the way i have more, very incredible stuff...

This post has been automatically changed by the Lottery Post computer system to remove inappropriate content and/or spam.

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New Jersey
United States
Member #17843
June 28, 2005
64843 Posts
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 Posted: June 5, 2009, 10:26 am - IP Logged

Raven62,

Your argument "The mathematical conceptions of randomness involve deviations fromdistributions which are infinite in size. No empirical process can betested against this idealized notion of randomness because we can'tcollect an infinite number of data points." is very well aimed.

Do you know Alan Hajek's arguments against frequentism and other simplified views on randomness and probability?

Google for "Alan Hajek" and read "Fifteen Arguments Against Hypothetical Frequentism" on his page.

It contains almost the same argument,  expressed using such words:

"For each infinite sequence that gives rise to a non-trivial limiting relative frequency,
there is an infinite subsequence converging in relative frequency to any value you
like (indeed, infinitely many such subsequences). And for each subsequence that
gives rise to a non-trivial limiting relative frequency, there is a sub-subsequence
converging in relative frequency to any value you like (indeed, infinitely many sub-
subsequences). And so on."

and

"The problem of necessarily single-case events, and of uncountably many events,
are two ends of a spectrum. HF speaks only to the ‘middle’ cases in which
denumerable sequences of trials of the relevant kind are both possible and
exhaustive. But probabilities should not be held hostage to these seemingly

What branch of mathematics we can find usable? Chaos theory is probably

useless, because of high sensitivity of initial conditions. Methods related

to neural networks often require very large computing power, crucial is data

preprocessing. This is rather not "do it yourself" field.

What i think is that first we should analyse the system we are working with.

"Know your enemy". Patterns in lottery results are not only because of

machines/balls chararacteristics. They are mainly because of overall

characteristic of used system. Simple example: Lottery of 6/49 type, no bonus balls.

There is one odd number more than even numbers in full set. And this fact biases

drawing results. This bias is not because of machine/balls. It comes from pure

mathematics, it is contained in the set of numbers used. Machine is the source

of distortion in such "ideal", "primal" characteristics. We can say that machine

is some kind of filter or scrambler of initial characteristic.

My approach is to first deep explore the attributes of "ideal" system, and then

compare them with "machine output". The difference between these characteristics

is pure machine input. It comes from all those physical conditions, present during

the draw. Instead of fighting with the system as a whole, we could focus on

cleaning our model from perturbations introduced by machine. Currently we see

two pictures intermingling one with other. Our goal could be to separate these

pictures.

Sirvalebeos

Statistical regularity is a notion in statistics and probability theory that random events exhibit regularity when repeated enough times or that enough sufficiently similar random events exhibit regularity.

Repeating a series of trials will produce similar, but not identical, results for each series: the average, the standard deviation and other distributional characteristics will be around the same for each series of trials.

The notion is used in games of chance, demographic statistics, quality control of a manufacturing process, and in many other parts of our lives.

Frequency probability is the interpretation of probability that defines an event's probability as the limit of its relative frequency in a large number of trials.

There are two broad categories of probability interpretations which can be called 'physical' and 'evidential' probabilities.

Physical probabilities, which are also called objective or frequency probabilities, are associated with random physical systems such as roulette wheels, rolling dice and ball machines. In such systems, a given type of event tends to occur at a persistent rate, or 'relative frequency', in a long run of trials.

Evidential probability, also called Bayesian probability, can be assigned to any statement whatsoever, even when no random process is involved, as a way to represent its subjective plausibility, or the degree to which the statement is supported by the available evidence.

A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

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