AP Statistics Curriculum 2007 Bayesian Other

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Bayesian Inference for the Binomial Distribution

The parameters of interest in this section is the probability P of success in a number of trials which can result in either success or failure with the trials being independent of one another and having the same probability of success. Suppose that there are n trials such that you have an observation of x successes from a binomial distribution of index n and parameter P

x ~ B(n,P)

subsequently, we can show that p(x|P) = {n \choose x} Px (1 − P)nx , (x = 0, 1, …, n)

p(x|P) is proportional to Px(1 − P)nx


If the prior density has the form: p(P) proportional to Pα − 1(P − 1)β − 1 , (P between 0 and 1)

then it follows the beta distribution P ~ β(α,β)


From this we can appropriate the posterior which evidently has the form

p(P|x) is proportional to Pα + x − 1(1 − P)β + nx − 1

The posterior distribution of the Binomial is

(P|x) ~ β(α + x, β + n – x)

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