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What is a pattern?

The mode is the most frequently occurring value in the dataset. A set of data may have one schema, multiple schemas, or no schema at all. Other popular measures of central tendency include the mean, or set of averages, and the median, the middle value within a set.

The mode can be the same value as the mean and/or median, but this is usually not the case.

Learn about patterns

In statistics, data can be distributed in many ways. The most frequently cited distribution is the classical normal (bell curve) distribution. In this distribution and some others, the mean (average) falls at the midpoint, which is also the peak frequency of observations. For such a distribution, the mean, median, and mode are all the same value. This means that the value is the mean, the median, and also the mode—the value that occurs most frequently in the data.

Mode is most useful as a measure of central tendency when examining categorical data, such as car models or soda flavors, because the median mathematical mean based on ranking cannot be calculated.

key takeaways

  • In statistics, the mode is the most frequently observed value in a set of data.
  • For a normal distribution, the mode is also the same as the mean and median.
  • In many cases, the modal value will be different from the mean value in the data.

Pattern example

For example, in the following list of numbers, 16 is the mode because it occurs more times in the set than any other number:

  • 3, 3, 6, 9, 16, 16, 1627, 27, 37, 48

A set of numbers can have multiple patterns (this is called Twin Peaks If there are two patterns) if there are multiple numbers that occur with the same frequency and more than the other numbers in the set.

  • 3, 3, 39, 16, 16, 1627, 37, 48

In the example above, the numbers 3 and 16 are both modes, because they both occur 3 times and no other number occurs more frequently.

If no number in a set of numbers occurs more than once, the set has no mode:

A set of numbers with two patterns is Twin Peaksa set of numbers with three patterns is trimodaland any set of numbers with multiple patterns is multimodal transport.

Advantages and disadvantages of patterns


  • The pattern is easy to understand and calculate.
  • This mode is not affected by extreme values.
  • The pattern is easy to identify in datasets and discrete frequency distributions.
  • This mode is useful for qualitative data.
  • The mode can be calculated in an open frequency table.
  • Patterns can be positioned graphically.


  • When there are no duplicates in the dataset, the schema is not defined.
  • The pattern is not based on all values.
  • When the data contains a small number of values, the pattern is not stable.
  • Sometimes data has a pattern, more than one pattern, or no pattern at all.

Quick Facts

When scientists or statisticians talk about modal observations, they are referring to the most common observations.

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