correlation vs causality

Correlation and causality: An everyday life example of causal analysis

While digging a little bit into Java, I found an (at least for statistics-interested people) interesting post on javaworld.com written by Dustin Marx on “Correlation Between Typing Speed and Programming Competence”. From a statistician’s point of view you can see the article as a nice example of a small “everyday life” causal analysis.

Mr. Marx informally analyzes the causes for correlation between the attributes “typing speed” and “programming skill”. If you are short of time just read the conclusion to get the idea (which I cannot recommend for scientific papers!). Such examples are imho very useful for beginners to get the idea of “correlation vs. causality” and for professionals to get a look at their sophisticated mathematical analysis tools from a refreshing basic and everyday life perspective.

To read the article click on the Link to Dustin Marx’ article on javaworld.com.

Note that this example includes a mediator effect since an increase in “time spent on actual programming” causes an increase (in whatever functional form) in “time spent on typing” which in turn increases “typing speed”. Additionally he names some “exceptions” from his findings a statistician would call (depending on the distribution) “extreme values” or “outliers”.

Since I’m a fan of such everyday life examples of statistical analysis to illustrate (for the beginner) quite complex concepts I would appreciate some suggestions for other interesting examples, which are originally not intended to be used as examples for statistical analysis, in the comments of this article.

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  1. Pingback: From Quarks to Quasars » Correlation vs. Causation: The Analysis of Data

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