## Causal Reasoning

Read this section to investigate the complications of causality, particularly as it relates to correlation. Sometimes, two correlated events share a common cause, and sometimes, correlation is accidental. Complete the exercises to practice determining sufficient evidence for causation and determining accidental correlation. Check your answers against the key.

### Exercise

For each of the following correlations, use your background
knowledge to determine whether A causes B, B causes A, a common
cause C is the cause of both A and B, or the correlations is accidental.

- There is a positive correlation between U.S. spending on science,
space, and technology (A) and suicides by hanging, strangulation, and
suffocation (B).
- There is a positive correlation between our dog Charlie's weight (A)
and the amount of time we spend away from home (B). That is, the
more time we spend away from home, the heavier Charlie gets (and
the more we are at home, the lighter Charlie is.
- The height of the tree in our front yard (A) positively correlates with
the height of the shrub in our backyard (B).
- There is a negative correlation between the number of suicide bombings in the U.S. (A) and the number of hairs on a particular U.S President's head (B).
- There is a high positive correlation between the number of fire engines in a particular borough of New York City (A) and the number of fires that occur there (B).
- At one point in history, there was a negative correlation between the number of mules in the state (A) and the salaries paid to professors at the state university (B). That is, the more mules, the lower the professors' salaries.
- There is a strong positive correlation between the number of traffic
accidents on a particular highway (A) and the number of billboards
featuring scantily-clad models (B).
- The girth of an adult's waist (A) is negatively correlated with the height of their vertical leap (B).
- Olympic marathon times (A) are positively correlated with the
temperature during the marathon (B). That is, the more time it takes
an Olympic marathoner to complete the race, the higher the
temperature.
- The number gray hairs on an individual's head (A) is positively
correlated with the number of children or grandchildren they have (B).