Difference Between Correlation vs Causation

Difference Between Correlation vs Causation

Correlation vs Causation is a common term in scientific and health research. Among which several differences can occur. Identified Finding the true cause of a phenomenon is difficult to do as scientists tell you. Sometimes, the correlation and causation are closely related, but often they are not. Basically, tend to assume that if two events have correlation, they also have causation. But this does not happen in the majority of cases. This is a problem the difference between cause and correlation. It is a mistake to assume that just because two events have correlation, both tend to cause each other. This error or tendency refer to as causal non-causal pro-causa in Latin, or simply because of the cause.


Correlation highlights that there is a relationship between two things; but does not predict causality. Indeed, correlation and causation is similar. One event definitely leads to another thing, it’s easy to build a causal relationship. If two events occur in a phenomenon, but one does not cause the other, they are only correlated and not causal.

It is easy to say that students who watch and play video games that are full of violence, blood and gore become aggressive in nature. But it is not certain because many still remain normal even after playing in many of these games. Here it would be more appropriate to say that violent games and violent behavior has correlation. But do not always have a cause and effect relationship. Hence, there is a causal relationship between watching violent video games and subsequent aggressive behavior, every child who watches and plays this game will become abusive. The parents have to ban this game.

Sometimes researchers do not just want to know a variable correlated with other variables or not. What he wants to know more is the cause of the occurrence or emergence of dependent variables, or what independent variables are causing the emergence of dependent variables. For example, what causes employees to stress (dependent variable). Is it causes sales volume to decrease (dependent variable)? what causes consumers to be dissatisfied (dependent variable). Is it true that inappropriate advertising ( independent variable) cause the decrease in sales volume (dependent variable) ? Is it true that one’s work motivation is low (dependent variable) due to low wages or salaries (independent variable)? He wants to know is what variables are causing all the negative things (symptoms) that arise or occur. With the aim of providing solutions to existing problems (job stress, decreased sales volume, unsatisfied consumers, etc.)


The causation highlights that there is a causal relationship between two variables. Simply, this highlights that A causes B. In scientific and health studies, the problem of confusion between correlation and causation often happen. In theory, it’s easy to distinguish, but the reality is not that simple. Many events can cause another event, such as lung cancer that is only occurs due to smoking. If an event causes another event, it has correlation among others. Two events that occur together do not mean the cause, for example smoking and alcoholism go hand in hand. But it is not one other cause.

Likewise in non-social sciences, causation research able to use the influence among variables. Someone who wants to know the effect of fertilizer application on plant growth will conduct various experiments in the laboratory and in the “field”. Plant growth is not only influenced by the presence of fertilizer, in order to truly know the effect of fertilizer, other variables probably have an effect on plant growth.

When a researcher sets the title “Effect of the amount of wages on the level of employee performance”, it explicitly describes what research methods should causation research. Why? Because the word “influence has meaning” effect “or” cause “. Researchers consciously or not, have put one status variable as an independent variable (the amount of wages), and one other variable as a dependent variable (performance level).

Ayat HIdayat Huang

Lecturer of Statistics and Research Methodology in Jakarta, Indonesia
Ayat HIdayat Huang

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