Thursday, August 8, 2019

The consumption of ice cream increases, so do the instances of Essay

The consumption of ice cream increases, so do the instances of drowning - Essay Example Ice-cream consumption (first variable) and the incidence of drowning (second variable) may show a positive correlation, but the consumption does not cause the incidence. This may be common sense, but this simple example demonstrates the issue of spurious correlation being taken as evidence for implying causality. In Correlation Theory, the coefficient of correlation simply measures the ‘goodness of fit’ of sample of the data for the two variables i.e. how well they correlate together. It â€Å"does not necessarily indicate a direct dependence of the variables† (Spiegel, M). â€Å"The problem of interpretation is always very much more difficult to deal with than the statistical manipulations, and for this side of the work there is no substitute for detailed practical acquaintance with every aspect of the problem.† (Moroney, M) Conclusions based on the correlation findings are only good as the interpretative ability of the analyst and his or her acquaintance with every detail or aspect of the problem. The possibility of other variables affecting the ones being compared should always be considered to account for the relationship being tested if there is any inkling of a spurious correlation. In our example, a third variable of temperature relates to both the existing variables of ice-cream consumption and instances of drowning and better explains the phenomenon. More ice-cream is consumed in hot weather especially during the summer heat. This tendency to consume more during hot weather is understandable my most people, and can easily be ascertained by examining the sales figures of ice-cream parlours. These are well known to show seasonal fluctuations being higher in summer and lower in winter. As for drowning, this too can be explained as being a more common occurrence in summer simply because more people like to and do spend more time either in or near water. This can be near lakes, rivers, seasides, and

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