A Situation Where Type I Error is More Serious Than a Type II

Grand Canyon –  Sym 506 Weekly Discussion

Give an example of a situation in which you believe a Type I Error is more serious than a Type II Error. Give an example of a situation in which you believe a Type II Error is more serious than a Type I Error. In each case, why do you think so?

Type I error involves rejecting the null hypothesis when the null hypothesis is actually true. Type II error on the other hand involves failing to reject the null hypothesis when actually the alternate hypothesis is true. The two errors can be very serious but in different situation. For instance, in medical field, a researcher may establish that a drug is effective in treating a serious condition for instance cancer while in the actual sense the drug is not effective. In this case, the drug will be used on cancer patient and they will develop more health complications due to drugs poisoning while their cancer condition remains or even worsen. In this case the researcher will have committed type I error which can be very fatal to cancer patients who are administered with the drug. On the other hand, a researcher may make a mistake and conclude that the drug in evaluation is not effective for treating a condition while in the actual sense it is effective. In this case, the researcher will deny the patients suffering from the identified condition from receiving the treatment which is actually viable. At the end of day, most patients will die due to lack of treatment despite the fact that their lives could have been saved if the right research deductions were made.  In this case the researcher will have committed type II error which is equally destructive.  The severity of the two errors depends on the field in which the research was conducted.  For instance, medics and psychologist would fight not to commit type I error since it consequences can be quite severe. If type II error is committed like in this case, an alternative can be defined which may work equally, however, in type I case, the damage may be hard to reverse.

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