by Kardi Teknomo

< Previous | Next | Content >

In learning Bayes rule or Bayes theorem, most people usually get difficulty to determine which one is a priori, posteriori, and likelihood probability. Bayes theorem itself is actually very simple. This tutorial will help you to understand Bayes theorem with an example of tabular data. If you are still confused with notation like , you may read first the previous section of this tutorial on conditional probability . You can also download the spreadsheet file companion of this tutorial here.

Bayes' Rule:

  • is called prior probability of our hypothesis . It is our state of knowledge about hypothesis before we get the data .
  • is called likelihood probability. It is the probability based on our observation data given that our hypothesis is hold.
  • is the prior probability that the data will be observed. It is the probability of data without knowledge of any hypothesis.
  • The ratio is called irrelevance index. If the irrelevance index is 1, any knowledge about B is not relevance to A. Any value below 1 measures the relevancy between A and B.
  • is called posterior probability. It is our state of knowledge about hypothesis after we know data .

In many applications, however, we usually have several mutually exclusive hypotheses . Since the data is a subset of our hypotheses set, we can decompose the data into

Because and Union operation is equivalent to summation, we obtain

Total Probability Theorem :

Input the total probability theorem into Bayes' rule we get Bayes' Theorem

We use the same example as in section Conditional Probability . Refresh again your understanding about that section where you have the data and then you compute the percentage by row, percentage by column and percentage by total.

Bayes theorem problem is somewhat reversed from what we compute in section Conditional Probability . Now suppose you know only the percentage by row and the marginal percentage (from the percentage by total ), as shown in the tables below.

The question is: can you get the percentage by column only based on the information of these two tables?

To answer this kind of question is what the Bayes theorem help.

The two tables above can be put into notational table as follow:


While table percentage by column , can be put into notation as table below

Using Bayes rule we can easily compute the percentage by column. For example and . The full table of percentage by column is presented below

< Previous | Next | Content >

Send your comments, questions and suggestions

Preferable reference for this tutorial is

Teknomo, Kardi. Data Analysis from Questionnaires. http:\\\kardi\ tutorial\Questionnaire\

This tutorial is copyrighted.