Examples of Spurious Relationships

Observed Spurious Relationship Reason for Relationship (the Third Variable)
Amount of ice cream sold and deaths by drownings (Moore, 1993) Season: Ice cream sales and drownings tend to be high during the warm months of the year
Ministers’ salaries and price of vodka Area (i.e., urban or rural): In urban areas, prices and salaries tend to be higher.
Shoe size and reading performance for elementary school children Age: Older children have larger shoe sizes and read better.
Number of doctors in region and number of people dying from disease Population density: In highly dense areas, there are more doctors and more people die.
Number of doctors in region and number of people dying from disease Population density: In highly dense areas, there are more police officers and more crimes.
Number of police officers and number of crimes (Glass & Hopkins, 1996) Population density: In highly dense areas, there are more homicides and more churches.
Number of homicides and number of churches Time: Both variables were increasing over time
Number of storks sighted and the population of Oldenburg, Germany, over a six-year period (Box, Hunter, & Hunter, 1978) Time: Both were increasing during the 1970s.
Number of public libraries and the amount of drug use Time: Both tend to increase over time.
Teachers’ salaries and the price of liquor (Moore and McCabe, 1993) Time: Both tend to increase over time.
Tea drinking and lung cancer Smoking: Tea drinkers have a lower risk only because they smoke less

Halpern (2003) identified correlations that are often used to erroneously infer causality: illusory correlations, spurious correlations, and accidental correlations.

 

Illusory correlations are based on an individual’s preconceived notions or beliefs which lead one to look for associations between variables that confirm those.

Accidental correlations have no logical connection between them.


Finally, spurious correlations are correlations between two variables that are actually caused by a third variable.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. PA Pundits - International
    Mar 09, 2018 @ 16:28:18

    Ha ha!
    Spurious indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Notes On Liberty

Spontaneous thoughts on a humble creed

COVID-19 Law

A collection of Australian legal resources relating to the coronavirus pandemic

Mostly Economics

This blog covers research work in Economics with focus on India.

Map Dragons

Written by map lovers for map lovers

Wrong Hands

Cartoons by John Atkinson. ©John Atkinson, Wrong Hands

New Historical Express

(Formerly Hatful of History)

FondOfBeetles

a developmental biologist in a gendered world

Overcoming Bias

Celebrating humanity's flourishing through the spread of capitalism and the rule of law

CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST

Celebrating humanity's flourishing through the spread of capitalism and the rule of law

Barrie Saunders

Thoughts on public policy and the media

The Victorian Commons

Researching the House of Commons, 1832-1868

Coyote Blog

Celebrating humanity's flourishing through the spread of capitalism and the rule of law

American Enterprise Institute – AEI

Celebrating humanity's flourishing through the spread of capitalism and the rule of law

The History of Parliament

Blogging on parliament, politics and people, from the History of Parliament

Catallaxy Files

Australia's leading libertarian and centre-right blog

Climate Audit

by Steve McIntyre

StephenFranks.co.nz

A New Zealand lawyer, ex-MP, farmer and enthusiast for life opines on law, politics and the universe

Books & Boots

reflections on books and art

Legal History Miscellany

Posts on the History of Law, Crime, and Justice

Sex, Drugs and Economics

Celebrating humanity's flourishing through the spread of capitalism and the rule of law

The Long Run

the EHS blog

The Undercover Historian

Beatrice Cherrier's blog

Vincent Geloso

Economics, History, Lots of Data and French Stuff

Climatism

Tracking Anthropogenic Climate Alarmism

Science Matters

Reading between the lines, and underneath the hype.

Point of Order

Politics and the economy

FREEcology

Libertarian environmentalism

Doc's Books

A window into Doc Freiberger's library

Newmark's Door

Celebrating humanity's flourishing through the spread of capitalism and the rule of law

Media Myth Alert

Calling out media myths

Uneasy Money

Commentary on monetary policy in the spirit of R. G. Hawtrey

European Royal History

Exploring the History of European Royalty

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Cutting edge science you can dice with

Marginal REVOLUTION

Small Steps Toward A Much Better World

The Risk-Monger

Let's examine hard decisions!

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. - J Robert Oppenheimer.

%d bloggers like this: