5 brilliant graphs that teach correlation vs. causality
Hilarious examples that prove how correlation does not equal causality.
Big Think has been talking about the dangers in confusing correlation with causality for some time. You know, how the amount of one thing seems to correspond to something else, and can we therefore conclude that the first caused the second, or vice versa? Nope. Make that a double-nope.
Sometimes things just look like each other without actually being at all connected. Here's the Nic Cage/drowning data:
It's not just an academic matter, either, as the confusion between correlation and causality can lead to dangerously wrong conclusions as it has for the people who incorrectly believe vaccines cause autism.
So let's have some fun with this, and enjoy just how idiotic the correspondences between obviously unrelated data sets can be. All of these are from author Tyler Vigen's awesome collection, including the Nicolas Cage/drowning one above. He also has a book, Spurious Connections. These are some of our favorites from Vigen's web page.
Here's a graph that "proves" that the more the U.S. spends on space, the more our suicide rate by hanging and other forms of asphyxiation goes up.
There are lots of reasons to question the value of the Miss America pageant, but this is new. The winner's age seems to cause murders by heat.
In what has to be the best endorsement for arcade game-playing, look at how many computer doctorates it "produces."
And finally, for those of us who have always resented those Scripps spelling smartypantses, venomous spiders feel us. And then bite us.
Got enough proof now for any argument that's based on ridiculous correspondences? There are more over at Vigen's website, and they're all pretty hilarious.
- The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
- Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
- Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.
In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.
This gives credence to the 5–2 diet, which has recently gained in popularity thanks to a large celebrity following.
Chances are you're probably thinking about food right now in some capacity. Maybe it's close to dinner and you're wondering what you are going to eat. Maybe you had a really good lunch and are fondly reminiscing about your BLT, or whatnot. Or maybe, just maybe, you're thinking about not eating food for a while.
A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.
- Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
- If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
- It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.