Correlation Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Causation

by Annie Shao, age 18

People who eat oatmeal die sooner than people who do not.
You probably think this article will be about some terrifying carcinogen, but I assure you oatmeal is perfectly healthy. Still, the statement above remains true. My psychology teacher read this fact to our class during her lecture about correlation and causation. Correlation means that two variables are related. Causation means that one variable directly causes another.
My teacher used this bogus fact to illustrate that correlation does not always mean causation. And I think it is a good point. Think about it, don’t older people tend to eat oatmeal more than younger people, and don’t older people die sooner than younger people? Clearly, death is not brought on by a taste for oatmeal. Oatmeal may be related to a shortened lifespan, but it does not cause death.
The significance of this psychology lesson is not the seemingly ludicrous oatmeal fact, but the logic behind it. It is important not to assume one thing causes another just because they are related. It is always smart to stop and think through the logic of the relationship. Next time you blame your bad luck on the black cat you saw, or attribute your good test score to a certain pencil you used, think about correlation versus causation. And question the logic, or lack of logic, behind your thoughts.

I just heard that today in my psychology class! "Correlation does not imply causation" was one of the main things that I carried over from my AP Psych class, and I love food, so this was a great article to read! – Spenser Kollath , Madison (2012-01-31 19:23)
ä¹éš“½éŽä¸€äº›æ•…事,包括加上「回歸十週年」的戳印可得廉價場租——我懷疑,華人新教主流陣營、葛二世和政府都是抱家家有求的心態來互相合作(或利用):主流陣營享用廉價場租之餘,也順手賣人情給政府,政府樂得為之;而請葛二世三世來,葛家可將此事當成福傳中華的工作,為履歷錦上添花,主流陣營也趁機來一次認祖歸宗,認和歸的是美國東南部起家的祖宗。而旁觀者如我,以為這十年是主流陣營更努力播種的時期,他們這十年累積了不少可見但又不甚明顯的力量——不甚明顯,是這種累積沒有他者的有力報導——而四天的佈道會,就不無慶功的意味。胡金榮評佈道會的歌詞是唱給信眾聽多於面向教外人,竊以為那是慶功心態的投射,「還不來我們這成功的名門正宗?」--------------另你記葛二世說:「觀眾不能通過「å®—æ•™」å¾—æ•‘,加入天主教、五旬宗、浸信會、循Ÿå®—等等是沒用的,惟有耶穌才是道路真理生命——但他對耶穌的理解分明只是新教福音派çè„理解。」嗯嗯,天主教和聖公會當然不會獲邀來慶這次功了,但他若真的這麼說,席上的好些本土新教大老或臉有難色,不好發作吧。 – Topher , ä¹éš“½éŽä¸€äº›æ•…事,包括加上「回歸十週年」的戳印可得廉價場租——我懷疑,華人新教主流陣營、葛二世和政府都是抱家家有求的心態來互相合作(或利用):主流陣營享用廉價場租之餘,也順手賣人情給政府,政府樂得為之;而請葛二世三世來,葛家可將此事當成福傳中華的工作,為履歷錦上添花,主流陣營也趁機來一次認祖歸宗,認和歸的是美國東南部起家的祖宗。而旁觀者如我,以為這十年是主流陣營更努力播種的時期,他們這十年累積了不少可見但又不甚明顯的力量——不甚明顯,是這種累積沒有他者的有力報導——而四天的佈道會,就不無慶功的意味。胡金榮評佈道會的歌詞是唱給信眾聽多於面向教外人,竊以為那是慶功心態的投射,「還不來我們這成功的名門正宗?」--------------另你記葛二世說:「觀眾不能通過「å®—æ•™」å¾—æ•‘,加入天主教、五旬宗、浸信會、循Ÿå®—等等是沒用的,惟有耶穌才是道路真理生命——但他對耶穌的理解分明只是新教福音派çè„理解。」嗯嗯,天主教和聖公會當然不會獲邀來慶這次功了,但他若真的這麼說,席上的好些本土新教大老或臉有難色,不好發作吧。 (2016-07-19 21:21)