10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan
Contributed paper list

Contributed Paper C244


Comparing the efficiency of mathematical V. intuitive explanations in conditional probability


Sigal Levy (Israel)
Yelena Stukalin (Israel)


Sigal Levy (Israel)


Some non-intuitive problems pose a challenge to students of probability. Such an example is the Monty Hall paradox, in which information provided by the "show host" is ignored. In our experiment, we provided three groups of students with different explanations of the solution: none, intuitive or technical/mathematical. Following that, we asked the students to solve another non-intuitive problem in conditional probability: what is the probability that twins are both male given (1) one is male, or (2) the older is male. Results show that students that had met the intuitive explanation performed better when solving the second problem. We therefore believe that presenting students with the intuition behind a solution may help them develop flexibility and better understanding of the underlying mechanism of conditional probability.