Does the following example fit the principle of Correlation vs. Causation?

A man who owns a cat store claims that people who suffer from depression are happier once they own a cat. He has seen a customer whom seems to be a lot happier after getting a pet cat. He also claims that there is a woman who couldn't purchase a cat because she couldn't afford it, and she has been feeling down ever since. It’s clear the magical aura created by pets causes positive changes in energy flux for the individual. The owner's remarkable data has paved the way for furry therapy and has shown that man’s best friend may actually be feline.

1 Answer
Mar 12, 2018

Yes, this example fits “correlation vs causation”. Although the owner’s data is a remarkable proof of correlation, the owner cannot conclude causality because this is not a randomised experiment. Instead, what probably happened here is that those who wanted to own a pet and were capable affording it, were the people who ended up with a pet. The desire to own pet justifies their happiness afterwards, and the ability to afford the pet points to the fact that they were probably financially independent, they probably did not have large debts, terminal diseases etc.

Even though it is plausible that having a pet cat can cure depression, this given data from owner does not prove it. His proof is is just as good as Apple’s claim that iPhone causes happiness.