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# Do you use absolute value to calculate the mean? watch

1. Simply, do you use absolute value to work out mean?

I have to work out the mean of a group of numbers with some negative numbers in there, so would I use the absolute value of these to work it out?

If not, does that mean I can have a negative mean? What would a negative mean imply (in general)?
2. (Original post by claret_n_blue)
Simply, do you use absolute value to work out mean?

I have to work out the mean of a group of numbers with some negative numbers in there, so would I use the absolute value of these to work it out?

If not, does that mean I can have a negative mean? What would a negative mean imply (in general)?
No, you do not use the absolute value, you use the actual value.

Yes, you can have a negative mean.

Meaning depends on context. E.g. the mean height of the Dead Sea above sea level is minus..., i.e. it's below sea level.
3. You don't; and it'd just imply that the average value of the variable is negative
4. I don't see why mathematically you can't have a negative mean. If you had a set of numbers that were all negative, then the mean would also be negative as the sum of all numbers will be negative, but the number of numbers isn't (and cannot be negative). If it was mixed, it depends on the numbers.

What it would imply depends on what you're averaging. Suppose you're averaging the profits of a firm over 5 years, then if the mean was positive then the firm has made a net profit over the 5 years. Likewise, it the mean was negative, the firm would've made a loss.
5. (Original post by claret_n_blue)
Simply, do you use absolute value to work out mean?

I have to work out the mean of a group of numbers with some negative numbers in there, so would I use the absolute value of these to work it out?

If not, does that mean I can have a negative mean? What would a negative mean imply (in general)?
use the actual numbers. Mean temperature could be negative in the arctic!

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Updated: January 5, 2013
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