A decision procedure tries to say whether some hypothesis H holds or does not (usually based on some observed data, O). If it says H does hold, it is said to give a positive. If, in fact, H does not hold, this is a false positive.

For procedures that always decide in the positive or in the negative, there is usually a tradeoff between false negatives and false positives.

See also sensitivity.

A 'false positive' can occur on a home pregnancy test. This result means that the at-home testing results report that the woman is pregenant when she is, in fact, not. At-home pregnancy tests are sometimes sold in 2-packs for women to use both tests at the same time. Testing differently using the same method at the same time is an indication of a false positive or false negative result.

A false positive may occur if the woman has levels of hCG in her blood from a recent pregnancy or miscarriage. It can also occur if you are receiving fertility injections to induce ovulation.

In biometrics, this term refers to the case where an authentication system erroneously grants access to an authorized entity.

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