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Most statistics that are used in communication and other fields of social science research assume a normal or bell-shaped curve distribution. One aspect of that curve is the assumption that the shape or distribution of scores is symmetric, or the scores are the same above and below the mean. When there is a lack of symmetry of the distribution about the arithmetic mean, the distribution is considered skewed. Skewness is considered either positive or negative based on the direction and nature of the distribution. If the left “tail” (i.e., scores typically smaller than the mean) is more pronounced (i.e., the tail is longer), the curve is considered to be negatively skewed. If the right tail (i.e., scores typically above the mean) is more pronounced, the ...

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