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Ryan, Engineer
Category: Calculus and Above
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Experience:  B.S. in Civil Engineering
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Evolutionary theories often emphasize that humans have adapted

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Evolutionary theories often emphasize that humans have adapted to their physical
environment. One such theory hypothesizes that people should spontaneously
follow a 24-hour cycle of sleeping and waking—even if they are not exposed to
the usual pattern of sunlight. To test this notion, eight paid volunteers were
placed (individually) in a room in which there was no light from the outside and
no clocks or other indications of time. They could turn the lights on and off as
they wished. After a month in the room, each individual tended to develop a
steady cycle. Their cycles at the end of the study were as follows: 25, 27, 25, 23,
24, 25, 26, and 25.
Using the .05 level of significance, what should we conclude about the
theory that 24 hours is the natural cycle? (That is, does the average cycle length
under these conditions differ significantly from 24 hours?) (a) Use the steps of
hypothesis testing. (b) Sketch the distributions involved. (c) Explain your answer
to someone who has never taken a course in statistics.

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