# Causation vs correlation

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If you’re asking what the phrase “correlation doesn’t equal causation” means, it means that just because two things are correlated doesn’t mean they caused one another.

So like, if a decrease in newspaper sales happened the same year the name Emma became a popular girl’s name, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the two are related or caused each other. You’d be drawing too hasty of a conclusion and more thorough research would have to be done to understand the phenomena.

If you can post this to Reddit, you have access to the internet and an actual wealth of legit knowledge and this is the kind of question you Google…. Not post to Reddit or the Chans.

Correlation can be two things that seem to to follow the same pattern.

There was a statistic with number of people drowning in pools and the number of movies Nicolas Cage appeared in on a yearly basis. The numbers follow the same pattern. It is however safe to say that the numbers of movies Nic Cage stars in have no impact on the number of drowning deaths. So this is an example of something being correlated but there is no causation.

The number of people buying ice cream goes up when the weather gets hotter so the two are correlated. But since people buy more ice cream because of the heat there is also causation.

Things which tend to happen together are correlated. They may or may not cause one another, but when one thing happens, the other thing does too. Causation is when one thing is the cause of another thing.

If Bob punches you in the face, your face will hurt. This is both correlation and causation. The punching and the hurting happen at around the same time, so they are correlated. Bob punched you in the face, and it *caused* your face to hurt, so it’s causation as well.

If Bob punches us both in the face, both my face and your face will hurt at the same time. My face hurting and your face hurting are correlated. However, my face hurting didn’t cause your face to hurt, and neither did your face hurting cause my face to hurt, so there is no causation there. When two things are correlated but there’s no causation between them, there’s generally – but not always! – a shared underlying cause. In this case it’s Bob, who really needs to learn to control his anger.