A few posts ago I introduced you to the “three M’s” of statistics — the concepts of mean, mode, and median. Today I want to talk to you about a related concept called variance.
While the three M’s measure the central tendency of a collection of numbers, the variance measures their dispersion. That is, it measures how different the numbers are from each other.
Measuring dispersion is another fundamental topic in statistics and probability theory. On the one hand, it tells you how much you can trust the central tendency measures as good representatives of the collection. High variance usually means a lot of the numbers in the collection will be far away from those measures.