What Are We Thinking?

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People often try to make correlations between very odd things. In this experiment the goal was to be able to make theoretical arguments about why people vote the way they do. Basically what the researcher did was compile a ton of data about people's lives. In this way he believes that he can "mirror" up what these people do, believe, and feel to important things that happen in our lives such as, in this specific case, voting towards a specific political party.
The connections that were being drawn from this data were obscured in my mind. In class we learned that correlation does not mean causation. There are many things that can look as if they are linked together but actually have no causation between each other. A lot of times there is a lurking variable causing the change. There can also be some other variable that is responsible for both of the things that are correlated.
As noted early, many of the correlations made by the researcher do not seem to make sense. One example would be using a man's facial hair to determine which party he would most likely vote for. There was also data about how someone eats jelly babies linked to party affiliation and income. Another odd piece of data said that people who are more likely to be anti-refuge by three times that of a person that is not easily disgusted.
Although I did find many of these pieces of data to be a little strange when using comparison there was one thing that I liked about this report. The researcher said that ten percent of people told fibs while completing the survey. The researcher then said that they used specific questions to detect such things so that the scores could be tweaked to make it more realistic.
Many of these pieces of data with there correlation do not seem to add up to causation in my opinion. There appears to be too much of a distance between subjects being compared to be able to fairly say that they are causation which is what I believe this researcher wants to do. There is much more that is needed to convince me that there is internal validity in this research.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/5755369/What-are-we-thinking

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This page contains a single entry by weste319 published on October 9, 2011 4:26 PM.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was the previous entry in this blog.

Hindsight Bias: I Knew It All Along is the next entry in this blog.

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