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- [statistics] A statistical approach to measuring likelihood based on the synthesis of a prior distribution and current sample data. Classical approaches to statistics estimate the probability of an event by averaging all possible data. The Bayesian approach, in contrast, weights probability according to actual data from a particular situation. It also factors in data from sources outside the statistical investigation, such as past experience, expert opinion, or prior belief. This outside information is described by a distribution that includes all possible values for the parameter.