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Medium: Paradox

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Release Message: A statistical result where false positive tests are more probable than true positive tests.

Description: The false positive paradox is a statistical result where false positive tests are more probable than true positive tests, occurring when the overall population has a low incidence of a condition and the incidence rate is lower than the false positive rate. The probability of a positive test result is determined not only by the accuracy of the test but by the characteristics of the sampled population. When the incidence, the proportion of those who have a given condition, is lower than the test's false positive rate, even tests that have a very low chance of giving a false positive in an individual case will give more false than true positives overall. So, in a society with very few infected people, fewer proportionately than the test gives false positives, there will actually be more who test positive for a disease incorrectly and don't have it than those who test positive accurately and do. The paradox has surprised many.