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What’s So Funny About Correlation? Cartoon from xkcd.com.

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Presentation on theme: "What’s So Funny About Correlation? Cartoon from xkcd.com."— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s So Funny About Correlation? Cartoon from xkcd.com

2 What is Correlation? When two things go together: cookies & milk macaroni & cheese peanut butter & jelly

3 What is Statistical Correlation? A mutual relationship between two variable quantities. Correlation coefficients measure how closely related the two variables are. Correlation CoefficientStrength 1Perfect Positive 0.7 to 0.9Strong Positive 0.4 to 0.6Moderate Positive 0.1 to 0.3Weak Positive 0No Correlation -0.1 to -0.3Weak Negative -0.4 to -0.6Moderate Negative -0.7 to -0.9Strong Negative Perfect Negative

4 Does the amount of uranium stored at nuclear plants correlate with the amount of power they generate?

5 YearUraniumPower

6 Does the amount of uranium stored at nuclear plants correlate with the amount of power they generate? Graph from

7 Does the amount of uranium stored at nuclear plants correlate with the amount of power they generate?

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11 Why might the amount of uranium stored at nuclear plants correlate with the amount of power they generate?

12 What is Causation?

13 The action of causing something; the relationship between cause and effect. Smoking causes cancer Sugar causes cavities Gravity causes objects to fall

14 How does per capita consumption of chicken correlate with crude oil imports?

15 Graph from

16 How does per capita consumption of chicken correlate with crude oil imports? YearPer capita chicken consumption (lbs.) Total crude oil imports (millions of barrels) Chicken data from USDA. Oil data from Dept. of Energy.

17 How does per capita consumption of chicken correlate with crude oil imports? 0.9

18 How does per capita consumption of chicken correlate with crude oil imports?

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20 Does eating more chicken cause crude oil imports to increase? ?

21 Correlation and Causation Correlation is a measure of how well data fit the relationship. A correlated relationship between two quantitative variables is not the same as a causal relationship. The determination that one thing causes another requires a controlled randomized experiment. "Correlation is not causation, but it sure is a hint.“ - Edward Tufte, American Statistician

22 What’s So Funny About Correlation? Cartoon from xkcd.com


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