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  1. Joseph S. Rossi

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0710

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Rossi, J. S. 2010. Probability. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Rhode Island

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Probability theory is important to psychology because it is the foundation on which statistics and statistical inference are based, and statistics are the tools for conducting empirical research. The basic notions of probability and chance have a very long history. Gambling, throwing dice, and randomization procedures such as drawing lots are very ancient, if not prehistoric. Although these concepts were vague by modern standards, it is surprising that even the simplest sort of probability calculus was not invented until relatively recent times. Why this did not take place much earlier is a matter of some mystery and controversy.


  • confidence interval;
  • parametric statistical tests;
  • significance testing;
  • statistics in psychology