Five Year Impressions

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If there is one thing that I will take away from this course, and retain over the next five years, i would remember that correlation doesn't mean causation.

correltaion vs causation cartoon

There have already been many circumstances that I've personally brought this up in conversation, but usually because it is in an debate scenario. An outstanding example of this are the (generally) opposite views on motorcycles! My parents consistently hear about motorcycle accidents on the news, radio, and so on, but when was the last time anyone heard a news story that Timmy made it safely back home on his bike?
most inspirational kid ever bike rider_thumb[1].jpg
More likely than not, this one sided view promotes the correlation versus causation fallacy. My favorite is "Motorcyclists get into more crashes and thus are less responsible drivers": on the contrary, there are many more things that a cyclist needs to account for, so this correlation doesn't necessarily mean causation. Has anyone else used the correlation versus causation fallacy? (some awesome bikes below :D)


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Correlation vs. causation is something that I find myself thinking about all the time, even outside the psychology bubble. Your motorcycle example demonstrates the correlation vs. causation very well. The media portrays only the accidents with motorcycles. It's definitely more likely that somebody will have a safe strip rather crashing their bike.

It totally agree with your thoughts that correlation vs. causation is one of the most lasting concepts we have talked about in psychology. In my daily life I always think to myself that if I would have done one thing, another totally different result may have occurred but we now know that this may not be true due to this principle.

First off, I agree, those are awesome bikes. Also, I think correlation vs. causation is a great tool for debates as well, and it's one fallacy that I think people tend to fall prey to the most nowadays. Especially in terms of political debates. Even for myself, I have to re-evaluate what I'm saying to make sure I'm not making that error.

Your right in that correlation vs causation is a very important concept in life just because it causes some wrongful prejudice against certain stuff. It would be nice if everyone knew the logic behind this because it would certainly make the world a more accurate place.

At least in the case of the motorcycles, I think it is definitely fair to say there is more to the accidents than the driver being a bad driver/less responsible. For example, a possibility is the media focuses more on motorcycle crashes due to the circumstances: motorcyclists are not as protected as people who drive cars, therefore the chances of them being injured are greater. The media loves a good, tragic story for its readership, so it will focus on these accidents. This is not to say, of course, that there are less car accidents or that the injuries sustained are any less, but it's just illustrating the possible thinking of the media and their consequent actions.

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This page contains a single entry by bodd0021 published on April 30, 2012 4:06 PM.

Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding was the previous entry in this blog.

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