Correlation does not equal causation

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I think the one phrase that stands out most for me in this psychology course is "correlation does not equal causation." Other than making a regular appearance in most of my psychology midterms, it is also a very important concept to understand in life. After thinking more about this phrase, I find that everyone probably has fallen victim to this trap at least once in their lives. In fact, I could even argue that this is the main cause of most of our stereotypes and prejudices. For example, when you see an Asian-American person, you basically kind of assume that they have one or all of these following characteristics: very intelligent and good at math, eats rice everyday, studies everyday, enjoys anime, knows martial arts, and the list goes on. However, just because you've met someone who was Asian-American a very long time ago and they have all those aforementioned qualities, does NOT mean that every Asian person is the same. But you assume that they are, which is a huge injustice to the whole race. Now, those qualities are not necessarily bad. Honestly, I'd have to say that I do have all those qualities, minus being good at math (I was good at math before they decided to put the alphabet in it). However, what if we started thinking bad qualities are specific to a race? That's when prejudice and bigotry comes to mind.

Dr. Gonzales' lecture last Friday about Euro-Americans and African-Americans showed a picture of a black man with a bag of food after Hurricane Katrina and the caption said that he "stole" the food from a local convenience store. And then there was a picture of two white men with food as well and the caption read that they had "found" the food at the convenience store. As we see and hear the word "black" associated with the words "crime", "looting", and "bank robbery", we immediately start to form biases. And it is because of these existing biases that we have labeled a particular race a particular image.

I feel that we, as a society, should think more like scientists. Some of the vocabulary for the experimental designs could be applied to everyday life. And if scientists are trying hard NOT to include such damaging variables in their experiments, we should think the same thing and try to exclude it our everyday lives. I think that science strives to be perfect and while I am not idealistic as to believe in a true Utopian society, I think that we should try to open our minds and not fall into such dangerous traps.

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This page contains a single entry by nguy1631 published on December 4, 2011 6:16 PM.

Psychology In 5 Years was the previous entry in this blog.

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