Friends started coming up to me saying, “Since you got that Beetle, I keep seeing them everywhere.” It’s funny, because I started thinking the same thing as I drove around more.
In class, one of the first lessons we had, was correlation need not equal causation. Even if something lines up with the timing of something else perfectly, that’s not proof they have anything to do with each other.
My sophomore year of college, I wanted a more “grown up” vehicle (which I totally regret.) and I became the new owner of a grey, Mazda 3.
The more I drove around, the more I started to notice how many Mazda 3s were around.
So, there are a few possibilities here.
- I got a Mazda 3, so everyone else simply had to go get one as well.
- For whatever reason, me, among many other now Mazda owners, got the urge for that car at the same time.
- It’s complete coincidence that we all had Mazda 3s. By chance.
- There has been no increase in the amount of Mazda 3s on the road, but something is causing me to notice them more. (Y variable)
The easiest conclusion (and also the most ego centric, would be to assume that my purchase of this car, somehow influenced other people.
However, after having the concept of correlation need not equal causation written loudly in my memory now, it’s more likely due to a 3rd variable.
Because a Mazda 3 now has significance to my personal life, I’m bound to notice others more. (I can’t prove this without testing, but it’s the most likely.)