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Math Help - Two means in one sample

  1. #1
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    Two means in one sample

    Hi ,
    I'm not sure if this belongs in the basic bit but the question is pretty simple...

    I have some biological orientation data in a histogram that looks like it has two normally dsitributed means in it, they are spread out with one mean a good distance from the other.

    Does anyone know how to test for each of the peaks in the data?
    Is there a mathematical test for this,
    a) Number of peaks in the histogram. (I could do this in code)
    b) It's normally distributed.(Based soley on 1 image)

    I could just separate them in code and test each peak within it's range, but I'm not sure if that is mathematically sound? Or whether that's a statistical no no ...

    Apparently this is called a bi-polar distribution, and I've been told it's ok to separate them, I'm still not 100% convinced though as it seems arbitrary.

    Any help would be appreicated
    Last edited by Solphist; May 18th 2010 at 06:47 AM. Reason: update on status
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor matheagle's Avatar
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    Clearly, there can't be two means.
    I'm guessing that you have two modes.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bimodal_distribution
    It's called bimodal and not bipolar.
    I know too many people that can best be described as bipolar.
    Last edited by matheagle; May 23rd 2010 at 09:27 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply, I know what to search for now...
    Thanks for clarifying my mistakes, mode not mean, and bimodal not polar.
    hehe it's no wonder I couldn't find it looking for bipolar

    If you happen to know a good book for this area I'd appreciate it
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