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PSY 325 correlation

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Our text tells us that it is important to be able to tell the difference between correlation and cause.
Two characteristics co-varying together do not mean that one causes the other.Correlation means
that the characteristics are related and the proof of the relationship is that they co-vary or vary
together and as one variable changes the other also changes. This is because both variables have
some of the same information. The higher the correlation the more information they have in
common. (Tanner, D., 2011) There have been many studies done which suggest that family
income has something to do with higher SAT scores. Some researchers think that SAT scores are
simply a measure of the student’s socioeconomic status. One study done in 2009 suggests that
“the predictive power of admissions tests and other cognitively loaded tests in predicting college
grades and shows that this power is not an artifact of SES. In fact, tests retain virtually all of their
predictive power when controlling for SES.” (Sackett, P. R., Kuncel, N. R., Arneson, J. J.,
Cooper, S. R., & Waters, S. D., 2009) This correlation tells me that a student’s socioeconomic
status will not guarantee a higher SAT score. I do not think that this is evidence that a higher
socioeconomic status make it possible for a student to have higher SAT scores nor do I think that
higher SAT scores guarantees higher income. Correlation alone is not enough to demonstrate
cause because it is common for a third variable to explain an association between two other
variables.

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