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

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Top Qualities of Design Thinking Leaders

Design Thinking is on the rise in the business world. Design Thinking leaders focus on creating the best product for their clients and working with the experiences and insight of fellow coworkers. Some of the key characteristics of Design Thinking leaders present themselves in individuals who are open and subject themselves to vulnerability with clients and coworkers. These qualities help leaders to connect and build relationships with others. They also create an open flow of communication that allows for others to better share their knowledge to align with and understand the company's mission.

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

Think, Key, Speak: Purposeful Communications

I spent the early years of my career in the United States Navy as a Naval Flight Officer on the E-2C Hawkeye, the Navy’s aircraft carrier-based Airborne Early Warning and Command and Control platform. The various missions of the aircraft demand that aircrew monitor up to ten radio frequencies, and actively speak on three or four of those, at any given moment in flight.

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

How Can Communities Ready Themselves for a Major Power Grid Event?

Communities are often the foundation for an expedited recovery following major events. But how can communities strengthen their response to, for example, a major cyber-attack or natural event, such as an Electronic Magnetic Pulse solar flare? A United States electrical grid failure could destroy a number of the nation’s high voltage transformers causing widespread outages for several weeks, even months. A public health emergency could quickly ensue particularly among the vulnerable as the ripple effects cause significant societal disruption. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) strategic plan encourages and empowers communities to prepare for the inevitable impacts of future disasters. How can communities prime for major events?

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

Confessions of a Chief Strategy Officer

I’ll admit it, I was a little smug. After more than 20 years in the consulting business helping clients develop, implement, and integrate their strategies, I thought… “how hard could it be to do the same things for my own company – a company of consultants?” I had the commitment of my leadership, a group of talented people, and a plan and resources to grow the company. We had energy and we had a great process and tools to successful. What could go wrong?

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Exploring Trends in Strategic Workforce Planning (Attract, Engage, and Retain)

Federal agencies have been undergoing significant transformation, requiring effective workforce strategies that can assist them in facing increasing challenges. As government leaders look for and implement initiatives to improve performance, Strategic Workforce Planning, (SWP) has become instrumental in assisting organizations to focus on their most important resource: their people

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

#Innovate Your Heart Out: We See an Innovation Day in Your Future

Innovation is difficult to harness for organizations of all sizes (Government and private sector alike). Replicating a process to encourage and produce innovation is even more challenging. Innovating in a structured space and time seems counter-intuitive, and begs the question: can thinking outside the box be a structured activity? Arc Aspicio recently held an Innovation Day to answer this question.

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

A Unified Brand Helps Serve a Complex Mission

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created in 2003, undertook the most significant reorganization of federal agencies since the Cold War. It brought together federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies with a focus on securing the U.S. from threats in a collaborative way. DHS pulls together five complex mission areas: preventing terrorism and enhancing security; managing our borders; administering immigration laws; securing cyberspace; and ensuring disaster resilience.