Correlation-Causation Fallacy

Correlation-Causation Fallacy

What is it?

Correlation-Causation Fallacy is a bias that makes people believe that when two events happen together, one causes the other.

The correlation-causation fallacy occurs when someone mistakenly assumes that because two variables are correlated, one must cause the other. In reality, correlation simply means that two variables are related in some way, but it doesn't necessarily imply that one causes the other. There could be other factors involved, or the correlation could be purely coincidental.

Here are two simple examples to help you understand the correlation-causation fallacy:

  1. Ice cream sales and drowning incidents: Suppose you notice that as ice cream sales increase, so do the number of drowning incidents. It would be a correlation-causation fallacy to assume that eating ice cream causes people to drown. In reality, both ice cream sales and drowning incidents are likely to increase during summer months when the weather is warm, people spend more time at the beach or pool, and ice cream is more appealing. The common factor here is the warm weather, not the ice cream causing drowning.

  2. Shoe size and reading ability: Imagine you find that children with larger shoe sizes tend to have better reading skills. It would be a correlation-causation fallacy to assume that having larger feet causes children t ...