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Standard Deviation and Variance

Standard deviation and variance are types of statistical properties that measure dispersion around a central tendency, most commonly the arithmetic mean. They are descriptive statistics that measure variability around a mean for continuous data. The greater the standard deviation and variance of a particular set of scores, the more spread out the observations (or data points) are around the mean.

Standard deviation and variance are closely related descriptive statistics, though standard deviation is more commonly used because it is more intuitive with respect to units of measurement; variance is reported in the squared values of units of measurement, whereas standard deviation is reported in the same units as the data. For example, to describe data on how long it took respondents to take a survey, a ...

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