This is the correct expression

P(A ∪ B) = P(A) + P(B) - P(B)P( A | B )

P(A) is probability of A happening

P(B) is probability of B happening

P( B | A ) can be said to Probability of B given that A has occured. Now look at the figure below. The area P( A | B ) is minimum when P(A) and P(B) do not overlap at all.

Attachment:

Inkedgeom121211_LI.jpg [ 835.65 KiB | Viewed 147 times ]
.

Intutive explanation of the formula:

P(A ∪ B) = P(A) + P(B) - P(B)P( A | B )

If you look at the figure to find area of P(A ∪ B) we add the area of P(A) and P(B) but if P(A) and P(B) overlap, we would add the overlapping area twice! So we sunbtract P(B)P( A | B ).

Example:

An urn contains 6 red marbles and 4 black marbles. Two marbles are drawn without replacement from the urn. What is the probability that both of the marbles are black?

Let A = the event that the first marble is black; and let B = the event that the second marble is black.

We know the following:

In the beginning, there are 10 marbles in the urn, 4 of which are black. Therefore, P(A) = 4/10.

After the first selection, there are 9 marbles in the urn, 3 of which are black. Therefore, P(B|A) = 3/9.

P(A) P(B|A) = (4/10) * (3/9) = 12/90 = 2/15 = 0.133

P(B)P( A | B ) is not P(B)P(A). The amount of overlapping area cannot be found out unless specified

Please take care of this as this is the very fundamental concept of probability. Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions.

_________________

Sandy

If you found this post useful, please let me know by pressing the Kudos Button

Try our free Online GRE Test