When To Ignore Your Pregnancy Test -Mental Model 063

False Positives and False Negatives

A false positive is a test result which wrongly indicates that a particular state is present. A false negative is a test result which indicates that a particular condition is absent.


Example: An example of a false positive is Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter being wrongly convicted of murder. Despite him being innocent, his court trial wrongly indicated that he was guilty.


Example: An example of a false negative is when a pregnancy test comes back negative—despite the woman actually being pregnant.


Wisdom: “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path towards error is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened.” ― Charles Darwin


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