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Difference Between Causation and Correlation

Causation vs Correlation

There is much confusion in the understanding and correct usage of causation and correlation. These two terms are always interchanged especially in the fields of health and scientific studies.

Every time we see a link between an event or action with another, what comes to mind is that the event or action has caused the other. This is not always so, linking one thing with another does not always prove that the result has been caused by the other.


Causation is an action or occurrence that can cause another. The result of an action is always predictable, providing a clear relation between them which can be established with certainty.

Causation involves correlation which means that if an action causes another then they are correlated. The causation of these two correlated events or actions can be hard to establish but it is certain.

Establishing causality between two correlated things has perplexed those that are involved in the health and pharmaceutical industries. The fact that an event or action causes another must be obvious and should be done with a controlled study between two groups of people.

They must be from the same backgrounds and given two different experiences. The results are then compared and a conclusion can then be drawn from the outcome of the study. The process of observation plays a significant role in these studies as the subjects must be observed over a certain period of time.


Correlation is an action or occurrence that can be linked to another. The action does not always result to another action or occurrence but you can see that there is a relationship between them. Although the action does not make the other thing happen, the possibility of having something happen is great.

Correlation can be easily established through statistical tools. The correlated events or actions can be because of a common cause. Establishing correlation can be made certain if there are no explanations that will prove causality.

When you say that exposing kids to too much violence on television and films causes them to become violent adults can be untrue. Although violence on television and films can influence behavior, adults who are violent might have acquired the habit due to other factors such as poverty, mental illness, physical, mental, and emotional abuse as children.

It is therefore wrong to assume that violent behavior is due to television and films because there are several different aspects to consider. It is safer to say that there is a correlation between watching violent television shows and films and violent behavior than to say that violence in television and films causes violent behavior.


1. Causation is an occurrence or action that can cause another while correlation is an action or occurrence that has a direct link to another.
2. In causation, the results are predictable and certain while in correlation, the results are not visible or certain but there is a possibility that something will happen.
3. Establishing causality is harder while there are many statistical tools available to establish correlation between events or actions.

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