7-2 Discussion: Correlation | Get Quick Solution

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This discussion assignment has two components. First, choose an article from the popular news media (i.e., an article that might appear on a website meant for the general public, NOT a peer-reviewed academic article) that misinterprets correlation as causation. Why is the author’s interpretation of the topic a mistake? For this portion of the assignment, you may choose an article featured on the Correlation or Causation? website, but you do not have to. For the second portion of this assignment, choose one of the articles that you have read for your final project. Describe how the results from one of the articles (preferably a correlation) could be misinterpreted and misconstrued by a news source. What might the misleading headline be, and why would it be misleading?

To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.



There are some great resources available via the internet. However, if an article is not peer-reviewed, the information can be misleading or confusing. Sometimes, the relationship is present but not how the authors portray for purposes of accuracy. In the article by Laino, he says that cell phones disrupt sleep for teens by referencing previous studies (2008). Laino did her research in finding sources such as the one from the 22nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, which is in one of my sources used for my final paper.

Unfortunately, Laino describes the relationship to be causation and not a correlation between cell phone and sleep in the headline but is not far from the mark in the text. My favorite part from this is that she says teens who fell under the category for heavy users drank more alcohol, as in drank more alcohol than light cell phone users who reported drinking alcohol (Laino, 2008). The title can be misleading but the text is not entirely inaccurate because the article even says that there is uncertainty as to which is the cause, the sleep disturbance or the time spent on cell phones.

In the journal from Woods and Scott, they conduct a study on use of cell phones with sleep and self-esteem (2016). They note that there is a negative correlation such as poor sleep related to high levels of social media usage. This is only showing that a relationship exists but does not say it is causation. Someone reading this may interpret it as high social media use leads to poor sleep quality. “Twitter or Sleep: Which is more important?” is a good headline that wrongfully interprets the information from the journal by suggesting social media will lead to lack of sleep. Woods and Scott simply address the correlation between sleep quality and social media.


Laino, C. (2008, June 09). Cell Phones Disrupt Teens’ Sleep. Retrieved April 22, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/news/2008060…

Woods, H. C., & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41–49. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1016/j.adolesc…


The first article I choose was titled Low self-esteem ‘shrinks brain’. This article stated that 92 brains were studied and the article concluded that the reason some of the brains had shrunk was due to low self-esteem (Ghosh, 2003). The author seemed to be confusing correlation with causation. The participants in the study completed questionnaires before they died so the investigators had ample data on the deceased before they looked at their brains. One of the data points seemed to relate participants with low self-esteem seemed to have smaller brains postmortem (Ghosh, 2003). What the article doesn’t mention is this could have been due to a number of factors, one of which being smaller brain size causes lower self-esteem, not the other way around. This also could be due to environmental factors, such as alcohol or drug use. My point is, the author of this article made connection with the data that they did not necessarily seem to be at liberty to make. Correlation does not mean causation.

This just in: Walking a Sheep Cures Depression!

The study by Schramm, Hediger, and Lang (2015) took six patients who had depression and paired them with sheep for weekly mindfulness training. The researchers explained this therapy was on top of the treatment plans these patients already had in place and that all patients required to take depression medication and see a therapist outside of this mindfulness therapy. After eight weeks of the mindfulness training (walking the sheep around while practicing mindfulness), the patients showed a greater improvement in their ability to “act with awareness” (Schramm, Hediger, & Lang, 2015). The results from this study did not say depression was cured by walking sheep around, but a news source could spin the results of this study to say as such.


Ghosh, P. (2003). Low self-esteem ‘shrinks brain’. BBC. Retrieved fromhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3224674.stm

Schramm, E., Hediger, K., & Lang, U. E. (2015). From animal behavior to human health: An animal-assisted mindfulness intervention for recurrent depression. Zeitschrift Für Psychologie, 223(3), 192–200. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1027/2151-2604…


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