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Basic familiarity with the univariate normal distribution
The simple goal of this vignette is to introduce a basic property of the (univariate) normal distribution: that linear combinations of independent normal variables are also normal.
Formally, suppose \(Z_1\) and \(Z_2\) represent independent, normally distributed random variables. Then for any scalars \(a\) and \(b\), the linear combination \[X:=aZ_1+bZ_2\] is also (univariate) normal.
Also, by basic properties of expectation and variance, \(E(X) = aE(Z_1)+bE(Z_2)\) and \(var(X)= a^2 var(Z_1) + b^2 var(Z_2)\).
The following code provides a visual illustration of this idea with \(a=2\) and \(b=3\), but it holds for any \(a\) and \(b\).
First we sample some values of \(X\) by randomly generating \(Z_1\) and \(Z_2\), and computing \(X=aZ_1+bZ_2\):
Z1 = rnorm(1000) Z2 = rnorm(1000) a = 2 b = 3 X = a*Z1 + b*Z2
The property says that the samples of \(X\) look normal. A quick histogram and qqplot suggest it does…. (of course this is not a proof that the property holds; it is just an illustration of the idea).
If you are curious by nature, you might now ask: is the normal distribution the only distribution that satisfies this property?
The answer is “no”. For example, \(t\) distributions also satisfy this property. Distributions that satisfy this property are called ``stable" distributions. You can read more at [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stable_distribution]
R version 4.1.0 Patched (2021-07-20 r80657) Platform: aarch64-apple-darwin20 (64-bit) Running under: macOS Monterey 12.2 Matrix products: default BLAS: /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/4.1-arm64/Resources/lib/libRblas.0.dylib LAPACK: /Library/Frameworks/R.framework/Versions/4.1-arm64/Resources/lib/libRlapack.dylib locale:  en_US.UTF-8/en_US.UTF-8/en_US.UTF-8/C/en_US.UTF-8/en_US.UTF-8 attached base packages:  stats graphics grDevices utils datasets methods base loaded via a namespace (and not attached):  Rcpp_1.0.7 whisker_0.4 knitr_1.36 magrittr_2.0.2  workflowr_1.7.0 R6_2.5.1 rlang_0.4.12 fastmap_1.1.0  fansi_0.5.0 highr_0.9 stringr_1.4.0 tools_4.1.0  xfun_0.28 utf8_1.2.2 git2r_0.29.0 jquerylib_0.1.4  htmltools_0.5.2 ellipsis_0.3.2 rprojroot_2.0.2 yaml_2.2.1  digest_0.6.28 tibble_3.1.6 lifecycle_1.0.1 crayon_1.4.2  later_1.3.0 vctrs_0.3.8 fs_1.5.0 promises_188.8.131.52  glue_1.5.0 evaluate_0.14 rmarkdown_2.11 stringi_1.7.5  compiler_4.1.0 pillar_1.6.4 httpuv_1.6.3 pkgconfig_2.0.3
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