correlation veruse causation
Uploaded by professorzo on Mar 14, 2014
The great risk of drawing causal conclusions from correlational data is that it stifles psychological research and growth within the general scientific community. In the article, Why our Brains Do Not Intuitively Grasp Probabilities, Michael Shemar makes the argument that most people view probabilities as ultimate fact, and ignore small percentages as having little or no meaning. This information has practical applications for the examples in that just because there is a high probability that something is true, even if we intuitively believe that it is, does not prove that it is true. When researchers attempt to infer causation from correlational variables, they neglect to identify a real understanding of human dilemmas and societal problems. The correlational data that appears to support the idea that married couples below the federal poverty level have a higher rate of separation and divorce compared to their counterparts provides a rather overly simplistic explanation and overlooks other potential variables. Socioeconomic status may play a role in divorce and separation rates, but it is not the only role. Other contributing factors could cause married couples to divorce such as personality traits, lack of effective communication, mindfulness, infidelity, and coping strategies. Correlational data only demonstrates a relationship between two or more measurable variables, but attempting to draw conclusions from them only confirms one’s own biases and pre-conceived notions.
The example of African Americans having low socioeconomic status and stress, which contributes to separation and divorce, does not consider other possible variables. Socioeconomic status among African Americans and other minorities may have a correlation between high separations, but it is inaccurate to assume causation. The third variable problem could potentially have other variables such as discrimination and racism, which contributes to poverty, and ultimately split ups between couples.
The Census Bureau study also found that married couples who got a divorce often fall below the poverty line. This evidence is convincing and understandable because married couples are no longer bringing in two sources of income, but other environmental factors such as the current status of the economy could contribute to a decrease in income.
Again, the environmental context of divorce children does not necessarily mean that a child will divorce his or her partner when he or she gets older. Other factors such as infidelity, violence, drugs, lack of communication, mindfulness, and coping strategies could contribute to whether a divorce child is likely to divorce his or her spouse....