Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
Introductory Business Statistics

6.1 The Standard Normal Distribution

Introductory Business Statistics6.1 The Standard Normal Distribution
Buy book
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Sampling and Data
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 Definitions of Statistics, Probability, and Key Terms
    3. 1.2 Data, Sampling, and Variation in Data and Sampling
    4. 1.3 Levels of Measurement
    5. 1.4 Experimental Design and Ethics
    6. Key Terms
    7. Chapter Review
    8. Homework
    9. References
    10. Solutions
  3. 2 Descriptive Statistics
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 Display Data
    3. 2.2 Measures of the Location of the Data
    4. 2.3 Measures of the Center of the Data
    5. 2.4 Sigma Notation and Calculating the Arithmetic Mean
    6. 2.5 Geometric Mean
    7. 2.6 Skewness and the Mean, Median, and Mode
    8. 2.7 Measures of the Spread of the Data
    9. Key Terms
    10. Chapter Review
    11. Formula Review
    12. Practice
    13. Homework
    14. Bringing It Together: Homework
    15. References
    16. Solutions
  4. 3 Probability Topics
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Terminology
    3. 3.2 Independent and Mutually Exclusive Events
    4. 3.3 Two Basic Rules of Probability
    5. 3.4 Contingency Tables and Probability Trees
    6. 3.5 Venn Diagrams
    7. Key Terms
    8. Chapter Review
    9. Formula Review
    10. Practice
    11. Bringing It Together: Practice
    12. Homework
    13. Bringing It Together: Homework
    14. References
    15. Solutions
  5. 4 Discrete Random Variables
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Hypergeometric Distribution
    3. 4.2 Binomial Distribution
    4. 4.3 Geometric Distribution
    5. 4.4 Poisson Distribution
    6. Key Terms
    7. Chapter Review
    8. Formula Review
    9. Practice
    10. Homework
    11. References
    12. Solutions
  6. 5 Continuous Random Variables
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Properties of Continuous Probability Density Functions
    3. 5.2 The Uniform Distribution
    4. 5.3 The Exponential Distribution
    5. Key Terms
    6. Chapter Review
    7. Formula Review
    8. Practice
    9. Homework
    10. References
    11. Solutions
  7. 6 The Normal Distribution
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 The Standard Normal Distribution
    3. 6.2 Using the Normal Distribution
    4. 6.3 Estimating the Binomial with the Normal Distribution
    5. Key Terms
    6. Chapter Review
    7. Formula Review
    8. Practice
    9. Homework
    10. References
    11. Solutions
  8. 7 The Central Limit Theorem
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 The Central Limit Theorem for Sample Means
    3. 7.2 Using the Central Limit Theorem
    4. 7.3 The Central Limit Theorem for Proportions
    5. 7.4 Finite Population Correction Factor
    6. Key Terms
    7. Chapter Review
    8. Formula Review
    9. Practice
    10. Homework
    11. References
    12. Solutions
  9. 8 Confidence Intervals
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 A Confidence Interval for a Population Standard Deviation, Known or Large Sample Size
    3. 8.2 A Confidence Interval for a Population Standard Deviation Unknown, Small Sample Case
    4. 8.3 A Confidence Interval for A Population Proportion
    5. 8.4 Calculating the Sample Size n: Continuous and Binary Random Variables
    6. Key Terms
    7. Chapter Review
    8. Formula Review
    9. Practice
    10. Homework
    11. References
    12. Solutions
  10. 9 Hypothesis Testing with One Sample
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Null and Alternative Hypotheses
    3. 9.2 Outcomes and the Type I and Type II Errors
    4. 9.3 Distribution Needed for Hypothesis Testing
    5. 9.4 Full Hypothesis Test Examples
    6. Key Terms
    7. Chapter Review
    8. Formula Review
    9. Practice
    10. Homework
    11. References
    12. Solutions
  11. 10 Hypothesis Testing with Two Samples
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 Comparing Two Independent Population Means
    3. 10.2 Cohen's Standards for Small, Medium, and Large Effect Sizes
    4. 10.3 Test for Differences in Means: Assuming Equal Population Variances
    5. 10.4 Comparing Two Independent Population Proportions
    6. 10.5 Two Population Means with Known Standard Deviations
    7. 10.6 Matched or Paired Samples
    8. Key Terms
    9. Chapter Review
    10. Formula Review
    11. Practice
    12. Homework
    13. Bringing It Together: Homework
    14. References
    15. Solutions
  12. 11 The Chi-Square Distribution
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 Facts About the Chi-Square Distribution
    3. 11.2 Test of a Single Variance
    4. 11.3 Goodness-of-Fit Test
    5. 11.4 Test of Independence
    6. 11.5 Test for Homogeneity
    7. 11.6 Comparison of the Chi-Square Tests
    8. Key Terms
    9. Chapter Review
    10. Formula Review
    11. Practice
    12. Homework
    13. Bringing It Together: Homework
    14. References
    15. Solutions
  13. 12 F Distribution and One-Way ANOVA
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 Test of Two Variances
    3. 12.2 One-Way ANOVA
    4. 12.3 The F Distribution and the F-Ratio
    5. 12.4 Facts About the F Distribution
    6. Key Terms
    7. Chapter Review
    8. Formula Review
    9. Practice
    10. Homework
    11. References
    12. Solutions
  14. 13 Linear Regression and Correlation
    1. Introduction
    2. 13.1 The Correlation Coefficient r
    3. 13.2 Testing the Significance of the Correlation Coefficient
    4. 13.3 Linear Equations
    5. 13.4 The Regression Equation
    6. 13.5 Interpretation of Regression Coefficients: Elasticity and Logarithmic Transformation
    7. 13.6 Predicting with a Regression Equation
    8. 13.7 How to Use Microsoft Excel® for Regression Analysis
    9. Key Terms
    10. Chapter Review
    11. Practice
    12. Solutions
  15. A | Statistical Tables
  16. B | Mathematical Phrases, Symbols, and Formulas
  17. Index

The standard normal distribution is a normal distribution of standardized values called z-scores. A z-score is measured in units of the standard deviation.

The mean for the standard normal distribution is zero, and the standard deviation is one. What this does is dramatically simplify the mathematical calculation of probabilities. Take a moment and substitute zero and one in the appropriate places in the above formula and you can see that the equation collapses into one that can be much more easily solved using integral calculus. The transformation z = xμ σ xμ σ produces the distribution Z ~ N(0, 1). The value x in the given equation comes from a known normal distribution with known mean μ and known standard deviation σ. The z-score tells how many standard deviations a particular x is away from the mean.

Z-Scores

If X is a normally distributed random variable and X ~ N(μ, σ), then the z-score for a particular x is:

z= x  μ σ z= x  μ σ

The z-score tells you how many standard deviations the value x is above (to the right of) or below (to the left of) the mean, μ. Values of x that are larger than the mean have positive z-scores, and values of x that are smaller than the mean have negative z-scores. If x equals the mean, then x has a z-score of zero.

Example 6.1

Suppose X ~ N(5, 6). This says that X is a normally distributed random variable with mean μ = 5 and standard deviation σ = 6. Suppose x = 17. Then:

z= xμ σ = 175 6 =2 z= xμ σ = 175 6 =2

This means that x = 17 is two standard deviations (2σ) above or to the right of the mean μ = 5.

Now suppose x = 1. Then: z = xμ σ xμ σ = 15 6 15 6 = –0.67 (rounded to two decimal places)

This means that x = 1 is 0.67 standard deviations (–0.67σ) below or to the left of the mean μ = 5.

The Empirical RuleIf X is a random variable and has a normal distribution with mean µ and standard deviation σ, then the Empirical Rule states the following:

  • About 68% of the x values lie between –1σ and +1σ of the mean µ (within one standard deviation of the mean).
  • About 95% of the x values lie between –2σ and +2σ of the mean µ (within two standard deviations of the mean).
  • About 99.7% of the x values lie between –3σ and +3σ of the mean µ (within three standard deviations of the mean). Notice that almost all the x values lie within three standard deviations of the mean.
  • The z-scores for +1σ and –1σ are +1 and –1, respectively.
  • The z-scores for +2σ and –2σ are +2 and –2, respectively.
  • The z-scores for +3σ and –3σ are +3 and –3 respectively.
This frequency curve illustrates the empirical rule. The normal curve is shown over a horizontal axis. The axis is labeled with points -3s, -2s, -1s, m, 1s, 2s, 3s.  Vertical lines connect the axis to the curve at each labeled point. The peak of the curve aligns with the point m.
Figure 6.3

Example 6.2

Suppose x has a normal distribution with mean 50 and standard deviation 6.

  • About 68% of the x values lie within one standard deviation of the mean. Therefore, about 68% of the x values lie between –1σ = (–1)(6) = –6 and 1σ = (1)(6) = 6 of the mean 50. The values 50 – 6 = 44 and 50 + 6 = 56 are within one standard deviation from the mean 50. The z-scores are –1 and +1 for 44 and 56, respectively.
  • About 95% of the x values lie within two standard deviations of the mean. Therefore, about 95% of the x values lie between –2σ = (–2)(6) = –12 and 2σ = (2)(6) = 12. The values 50 – 12 = 38 and 50 + 12 = 62 are within two standard deviations from the mean 50. The z-scores are –2 and +2 for 38 and 62, respectively.
  • About 99.7% of the x values lie within three standard deviations of the mean. Therefore, about 95% of the x values lie between –3σ = (–3)(6) = –18 and 3σ = (3)(6) = 18 of the mean 50. The values 50 – 18 = 32 and 50 + 18 = 68 are within three standard deviations from the mean 50. The z-scores are –3 and +3 for 32 and 68, respectively.
Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introductory-business-statistics/pages/1-introduction
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/introductory-business-statistics/pages/1-introduction
Citation information

© Nov 29, 2017 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.