Data on Dogs Says Best ≠ Favorite (Correlation vs. Causation)

Data on Dogs Says Best ≠ Favorite (Correlation vs. Causation)

Data on Dogs Says Best Favorite (Correlation vs. Causation)

Everyone is familiar with the “bandwagon effect”, where fans and followers join and root for the winning team, popular group, or must-have item. Does this psychological phenomenon apply to everything? A common misconception is that people assume correlation equals causation.

Let’s look at this phenomenon using Arc Aspicio’s favorite furry friend, the canine. Each year, one of Arc Aspicio’s major community contributions is its annual fundraiser event for the Search Dog Foundation, raising awareness for and funds to sponsor Search Dog Teams.

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has awarded a Best in Show every year since 1907*. The clear overall winner – the terrier breed group. 42% of the time – or 46 out of 109 years – the terrier was the top dog, especially in the earlier years of the award show. Even in the last 25 years, the terrier breed has won 32% of the time, the most of any breed. Common opinion may suggest, then, that America’s favorite dogs come from the terrier breed, per the “bandwagon effect” phenomenon.

The terrier was America’s favorite breed from 1907 until 1924, but, for no reason in particular, it has not been considered the public’s favorite since. Since 1982, the sporting breed has been America’s favorite. In that time, the sporting breed has only taken Best in Show eight times (about 23%), while the terrier has continued winning the most, nine times, or 26% since 1982. Why is this the case?

As with most data analysis, there are many factors in play. A common mistake in data analysis is the confusion between correlation and causation. Two events may appear related, but that does not mean that one is happening because of the other. Here, the Best in Show and America’s favorite may relate, but that does not mean that the Best in Show is causing America’s favorite to be the same breed or vice versa. The same goes for the “bandwagon effect”: correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

As for America’s decision on a favorite dog? Since 1991, that has been the Labrador retriever, yet it has never won Best in Show.

*No winner was awarded in 1923

About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

Blog Data Analytics

Contributors

Eric Smith |

Eric Smith is a Manager at Arc Aspicio. Eric is a graduate of Virginia Tech and obtained a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Reinventing Strategy

Reinventing Strategy

Since the GPRA Modernization Act in 2010, agencies across the Federal Government have raced to establish new Strategic Plans in response to incoming Presidential Administrations and agency leaders. Developing a new Strategic Plan is incredibly exciting for an agency. Leaders can redefine priorities, frontline managers can improve mission performance, and employees can better engage with the mission. Strategy, however, is so much more than just a Strategic Plan.

Running IT Like a Business: How Technology Business Management is Shaping the Future of Federal Agencies

Running IT Like a Business: How Technology Business Management is Shaping the Future of Federal Agencies

As the Government continually looks for ways to increase efficiency and encourage innovation, Information Technology (IT) is emerging as a solution to these needs. Recent Federal guidance mandates all agencies to adopt a new framework for better understanding IT costs. Technology Business Management (TBM) is a framework that incorporates IT departments into the overall business network, shifting away from treating IT as an independent unit. This provides a clear way to evaluate and manage IT, running IT as a business and communicating the value of new IT investments.

Behavioral Science – Using Behavioral Science to Effect Action

Behavioral Science – Using Behavioral Science to Effect Action

How do organizations encourage behavior change in their customers? Increasingly, they focus on customer experience, and as a consequence employ behavioral science methodologies. At the heart of behavioral science is the consideration of how an organization can make small investments that generate incremental savings/returns while considering both customers and organizational benefits. One example is Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Pre✓® and U.C. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry programs.

Launching into #Action Through Strategy

Launching into #Action Through Strategy

As a new employee, your first company-wide meeting can make you nervous. This was how I felt.

Arc Aspicio’s recent Strategy Launch Day was so well planned and it involved participants so that I learned that I had nothing to worry about! The company treats each employee equally and equips even the newest joiners with the information and skills they need to have a meaningful experience

What Being a Consultant Means to Me

What Being a Consultant Means to Me

As a Consulting Associate at Arc Aspicio, I provide expertise and insight to help clients solve difficult problems. To be successful, a consultant does not need only to be a subject matter expert on their client’s industry and needs - though this often ends up happening over time.

Captivate Your Audience Through Design+Data

Captivate Your Audience Through Design+Data

So often, senior leaders must communicate their strategic and simple vision in a world of growing complexity. They must make decisions – and frequently explain them – based on an enterprise view of their data. It’s getting easier to do this these days through data visualizations and infographics that speak to specific employee and stakeholder audiences. Design+Data is what we call it at Arc Aspicio.

Chief Data Officers: Six Steps to Manage Data as an Enterprise Asset

Chief Data Officers: Six Steps to Manage Data as an Enterprise Asset

With an exponential increase in the types and quantities of data, organizations need defined strategies and techniques to manage data as an enterprise asset. To create enterprise-wide use of data, a Chief Data Officer (CDO) needs a clear data agenda for leadership and the whole organization to address current and future needs. CDOs should follow this six-part data plan to achieve short term capability gains and plot a path to greater enterprise data maturity.

Securing Cyberspace: Agile Strategy to Counter Changing Threats

Securing Cyberspace: Agile Strategy to Counter Changing Threats

Cybersecurity, managing and protecting computer systems from attacks, is evolving just as quickly as the techniques hackers use to cause damage. Historically, the public and private sectors believed that stronger technology and more advanced computer systems alone were enough to prevent attacks. As new trends emerge and the technologies used to both conduct and prevent hackings improve, cybersecurity strategies must remain agile, trying new tactics to counter changing threats.

Hacking Back – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

Hacking Back – Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

With the increased frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks worldwide, companies and executives are becoming frustrated with a traditional focus on defensive tactics. As a result, some private sector actors are taking a more active role in cybersecurity by “hacking back” – hacking against the very groups that are attacking their systems in retaliation or to retrieve stolen data. As hacking back rises in popularity, it is important to consider a number of political and legal issues and the risks to counter-terrorism efforts.