Question

# Does correlation mean the same thing as causation? In other words, if there exists a strong...

Does correlation mean the same thing as causation? In other words, if there exists a strong correlation between two variables, does that necessarily mean that one variable causes the other? Support your answer with examples.

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Answer #1

Correlation is a statistical measure that describes the relationship between two or more variables. A positive correlation indicates that two variables increase or decrease in parallel and a negative correlation indicates that if one variable increases then other decreases. A correlation between variables exists then it does not automatically mean that the change in one variable is the cause of the change in the values of the other variable.

Causation indicates that one event is the result of the occurrence of the other event; i.e. there is a causal relationship between the two events.

So if there exists a strong correlation between two variables then it does not necessarily mean that one variable causes the other.

Example: We know, smoking causes an increase in the risk of developing lung cancer. But smoking is correlated with alcoholism, but it does not cause alcoholism.

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