Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Probability


Scoring goals in a soccer match can be interpreted as a stochastic process. In the most simple description of a soccer match one assumes that scoring goals follows from independent rate processes of both teams. This would imply simple Poissonian and Markovian behavior. Deviations from this behavior would imply that the previous course of the match has an impact on the present match behavior. Here a general framework for the identification of deviations from this behavior is presented. For this endeavor it is essential to formulate an a priori estimate of the expected number of goals per team in a specific match. This can be done based on our previous work on the estimation of team strengths. Furthermore, the well-known general increase of the number of the goals in the course of a soccer match has to be removed by appropriate normalization. In general, three different types of deviations from a simple rate process can exist. First, the goal rate may depend on the exact time of the previous goals. Second, it may be influenced by the time passed since the previous goal and, third, it may reflect the present score. We show that the Poissonian scenario is fulfilled quite well for the German Bundesliga. However, a detailed analysis reveals significant deviations for the second and third aspect. Dramatic effects are observed if the away team leads by one or two goals in the final part of the match. This analysis allows one to identify generic features about soccer matches and to learn about the hidden complexities behind scoring goals. Among others the reason for the fact that the number of draws is larger than statistically expected can be identified.

Concepts: Time, Scientific method, Statistics, Mathematics, Estimator, Probability theory, Probability, Estimation


Particle swarm optimization is a popular method for solving difficult optimization problems. There have been attempts to formulate the method in formal probabilistic or stochastic terms (e.g. bare bones particle swarm) with the aim to achieve more generality and explain the practical behavior of the method. Here we present a Bayesian interpretation of the particle swarm optimization. This interpretation provides a formal framework for incorporation of prior knowledge about the problem that is being solved. Furthermore, it also allows to extend the particle optimization method through the use of kernel functions that represent the intermediary transformation of the data into a different space where the optimization problem is expected to be easier to be resolved-such transformation can be seen as a form of prior knowledge about the nature of the optimization problem. We derive from the general Bayesian formulation the commonly used particle swarm methods as particular cases.

Concepts: Scientific method, Probability, Problem solving, Optimization, Bayesian probability, Particle swarm optimization, Optimization problem, Ant colony optimization


INTRODUCTION: Linezolid-induced black hairy tongue has been rarely reported. The purpose of this paper is to report a case of linezolid-induced black hairy tongue and review the literature. CASE PRESENTATION: A 56-year-old Caucasian man was admitted with community-acquired pneumonia that failed to respond to levofloxacin 750mg daily. He was started on linezolid and meropenem and was subsequently discharged home on oral linezolid 600mg every 12 hours and intravenous ertapenem 1g daily. On a follow-up clinic visit, day 14 of linezolid therapy, he complained of dysgeusia and his tongue examination was consistent with black hairy tongue. After he finished his antibiotic course, his complaints resolved with regular tongue brushing. CONCLUSION: Black hairy tongue is characterized by abnormal hypertrophy and elongation of filiform papillae. Five reported cases of linezolid-induced black hairy tongue were identified in a MEDLINE search (from January 2000 to June 2012). The Naranjo Probability Scale revealed a probable adverse drug reaction of linezolid-induced black hairy tongue. Potential contributing factors included other antibiotics, drug–drug interaction and poor oral hygiene. Health care professionals should be aware of the possibility of linezolid-induced black hairy tongue. Thorough history for other possible contributing factors should be obtained. Patients on linezolid should be counseled to perform good oral hygiene.

Concepts: Antibiotic resistance, Probability, Adverse drug reaction, Oral hygiene, Taste bud, Papilla, Black hairy tongue


The application of Preventive Maintenance (PM) and Statistical Process Control (SPC) are important practices to achieve high product quality, small frequency of failures, and cost reduction in a production process. However there are some points that have not been explored in depth about its joint application. First, most SPC is performed with the X-bar control chart which does not fully consider the variability of the production process. Second, many studies of design of control charts consider just the economic aspect while statistical restrictions must be considered to achieve charts with low probabilities of false detection of failures. Third, the effect of PM on processes with different failure probability distributions has not been studied. Hence, this paper covers these points, presenting the Economic Statistical Design (ESD) of joint X-bar-S control charts with a cost model that integrates PM with general failure distribution. Experiments showed statistically significant reductions in costs when PM is performed on processes with high failure rates and reductions in the sampling frequency of units for testing under SPC.

Concepts: Statistics, Statistical significance, Quality, Probability, Official statistics, Process management, Process capability, Statistical process control


Prospective Hazard Analysis techniques such as Healthcare Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (HFMEA) and Structured What If Technique (SWIFT) have the potential to increase safety by identifying risks before an adverse event occurs. Published accounts of their application in healthcare have identified benefits, but the reliability of some methods has been found to be low. The aim of this study was to examine the validity of SWIFT and HFMEA by comparing their outputs in the process of risk assessment, and comparing the results with risks identified by retrospective methods.

Concepts: Risk, Psychometrics, Risk management, Probability, Hazard, Risk assessment, Failure mode and effects analysis, Safety engineering


We often make decisions with uncertain consequences. The outcomes of the choices we make are usually not perfectly predictable but probabilistic, and the probabilities can be known or unknown. Probability judgments, i.e., the assessment of unknown probabilities, can be influenced by evoked emotional states. This suggests that also the weighting of known probabilities in decision making under risk might be influenced by incidental emotions, i.e., emotions unrelated to the judgments and decisions at issue. Probability weighting describes the transformation of probabilities into subjective decision weights for outcomes and is one of the central components of cumulative prospect theory (CPT) that determine risk attitudes. We hypothesized that music-evoked emotions would modulate risk attitudes in the gain domain and in particular probability weighting. Our experiment featured a within-subject design consisting of four conditions in separate sessions. In each condition, the 41 participants listened to a different kind of music-happy, sad, or no music, or sequences of random tones-and performed a repeated pairwise lottery choice task. We found that participants chose the riskier lotteries significantly more often in the “happy” than in the “sad” and “random tones” conditions. Via structural regressions based on CPT, we found that the observed changes in participants' choices can be attributed to changes in the elevation parameter of the probability weighting function: in the “happy” condition, participants showed significantly higher decision weights associated with the larger payoffs than in the “sad” and “random tones” conditions. Moreover, elevation correlated positively with self-reported music-evoked happiness. Thus, our experimental results provide evidence in favor of a causal effect of incidental happiness on risk attitudes that can be explained by changes in probability weighting.

Concepts: Decision making, Risk, Decision theory, Probability theory, Probability, Theory, Choice, Prospect theory


The reliability of experimental findings depends on the rigour of experimental design. Here we show limited reporting of measures to reduce the risk of bias in a random sample of life sciences publications, significantly lower reporting of randomisation in work published in journals of high impact, and very limited reporting of measures to reduce the risk of bias in publications from leading United Kingdom institutions. Ascertainment of differences between institutions might serve both as a measure of research quality and as a tool for institutional efforts to improve research quality.

Concepts: Scientific method, Sampling, Life, In vivo, Academic publishing, Probability, Randomness, Design of experiments


Perceptual decisions are classically thought to depend mainly on the stimulus characteristics, probability and associated reward. However, in many cases, the motor response is considered to be a neutral output channel that only reflects the upstream decision. Contrary to this view, we show that perceptual decisions can be recursively influenced by the physical resistance applied to the response. When participants reported the direction of the visual motion by left or right manual reaching movement with different resistances, their reports were biased towards the direction associated with less effortful option. Repeated exposure to such resistance on hand during perceptual judgements also biased subsequent judgements using voice, indicating that effector-dependent motor costs not only biases the report at the stage of motor response, but also changed how the sensory inputs are transformed into decisions. This demonstrates that the cost to act can influence our decisions beyond the context of the specific action.

Concepts: Scientific method, Critical thinking, Report, Mind, Probability, Francis Ford, Bias


Familial prostate cancer risk estimates are inflated by clinically insignificant low-risk cancer, diagnosed after prostate-specific antigen testing. We provide age-specific probabilities of non-low- and high-risk prostate cancer.

Concepts: Family, Cancer, Metastasis, Prostate cancer, Decision theory, Probability, Prostate, Prostate-specific antigen


The environment has a temporal structure, and knowing when a stimulus will appear translates into increased perceptual performance. Here we investigated how the human brain exploits temporal regularity in stimulus sequences for perception. We find that the timing of stimuli that occasionally deviate from a regularly paced sequence is perceptually distorted. Stimuli presented earlier than expected are perceptually delayed, whereas stimuli presented on time and later than expected are perceptually accelerated. This result suggests that the brain regularizes slightly deviant stimuli with an asymmetry that leads to the perceptual acceleration of expected stimuli. We present a Bayesian model for the combination of dynamically-updated expectations, in the form of a priori probability of encountering future stimuli, with incoming sensory information. The asymmetries in the results are accounted for by the asymmetries in the distributions involved in the computational process.

Concepts: Psychology, Brain, Human brain, Cognition, Cerebral cortex, Sense, Mind, Probability