# Association does not imply causation statistics

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Association does not imply causation! Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Confounding Variable A third variable that is associated with both the explanatory variable and the response variable is called a confounding variable A confounding variable can offer a plausible explanation for an association between the explanatory and response variables Whenever confounding variables are present (or may be present), a causal association cannot be determined Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Confounding Variable Explanatory Variable Response Variable Confounding Variable
12/23/2012 3 Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 TVs and Life Expectancy Number of TVs per capita Life Expectancy Wealth Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Experiment vs Observational Study An observational study is a study in which the researcher does not actively control the value of any variable, but simply observes the values as they naturally exist An experiment is a study in which the researcher actively controls one or more of the explanatory variables Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Observational Studies There are almost always confounding variables in observational studies Observational studies can almost never be used to establish causation Observational studies can almost never be used to establish causation Observational studies can almost never be used to establish causation Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Kindergarten and Crime Does Kindergarten Lead to Crime? Yes, according to research conducted by New Hampshire state legislature Bob Kingsbury “Kingsbury (R -Laconia), 86, recently claimed that analyses he’s been carrying out since 1996 show that communities in his state that have kindergarten programs have up to 400% more crime than localities whose classrooms are free of finger-painting 5-year-olds. Pointing to his hometown of Laconia, the largest of 10 communities in Belknap County, the legislator noted that it has the only kindergarten program in the county and the most crime, including most or all of the county’s rapes, robberies, assaults and murders.” Szalavitz, M. Does Kindergarten Lead to Crime? Fact-Checking N.H. Legislator’s `Research ’,” healthland.time.com, 7/6/12 . Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Texas GOP Platform A few days later, the Texas GOP 2012 Platform announced that it opposed early childhood education Causation or just association? Source: Strauss, V. “ Texas GOP rejects ‘critical thinking’ skills. Really .” , 7/9/12. Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Data from Facebook and Bloomberg
12/23/2012 4 Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Data from NASA and National Science Foundation Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5 Data from US Social Security Administration and National Housing Finance Agency Statistics: Unlocking the Power of Data Lock 5