Prior distribution

Definition: Beliefs held by researchers about the parameters in a statistical model before further evidence is taken into account. A ‘prior’ is expressed as a probability distribution and can be determined in a number of ways (e.g., previous research, subjective assessment, principles such as maximising entropy given constraints), and is typically combined with the likelihood function using Bayes’ theorem to obtain a posterior distribution.

Related terms: Bayes Factor, Bayesian inference, Bayesian Parameter Estimation, Likelihood function, Posterior distribution

Reference: van de Schoot et al. (2021)

Drafted and Reviewed by: Alaa AlDoh, Charlotte R. Pennington, Martin Vasilev

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