Psychology/MA in Psychology
I want to ask about correlational method. Here is the copy and pasted part from my textbook of Psychology.
"One of the most important points in understanding the result of correlation research is that finding a correlation between two variables does not in any way imply that two are linked causally.We can take the example of the possible relationship between television violence and viewer aggression. Because in most cases it is difficult to control adult viewers viewing habits, researcher must carry out correlation studies in which the aggressive content of television programs viewed by an individual is compared with the degree of aggressive behavior that person carries out.
Suppose the results are supportive of the hypothesis that high aggressive content is associated with high viewer aggression and that low aggressive content is associated with low viewer aggression. Drawing the conclusion that aggressive behavior caused the aggression would be inappropriate and quite possibly
It follows, then that although the use of correlation techniques allow us to learn what associations exist between two variables, it does not inform us about causality."
Please explain it in simple terms. I am unable to understand that when the correlation coefficient of two variables would be positive it means there is relation between the two variables then how is it possible that it is not causative? Similarly, how drawing the conclusion that aggressive behavior caused the aggression would be inappropriate and inaccurate? Please help me, sir.
The goal in correlational studies is to find some link or connection to two separate variables (such as television violence and the degree of aggression). We measure this by degrees, if the correlation is high then there is some relation between the two variables. We cannot imply that one causes the other, that would be forecasting. Further speculation on behavior caused by television violence is best left to philosophers. We can only suggest to that these two variables "may" have a connection or link but neither is caused by the other. Does this make sense?