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To decide which interval to use, you must answer this question: do you want to predict the mean
BAC for all students who drink 5 beers, or do you want to predict the BAC of one individual
student who drinks 5 beers? Both of these predictions may be interesting, but they are two
different problems. The actual prediction is the same, ŷ = 0.077. But the margin of error is
different for the two kinds of prediction. Individual students who drink 5 beers don’t all have the
same BAC. So we need a larger margin of error to pin down Steve’s result than to estimate the
mean BAC for all students who have 5 beers.
To estimate the mean response, we use a confidence interval. It is an ordinary confidence interval
for the mean response when x has the value x*, which is μy = α + β x*. This is a parameter, a
fixed number whose value we don’t know.
To estimate an individual response y, we use a prediction interval. A prediction interval estimates
a single random response y rather than a parameter like μy. The response y is not a fixed number.
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course STAT 121 taught by Professor Patticolling during the Winter '11 term at BYU.
 Winter '11
 PattiColling

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