An easy mistake to make (a "logical fallacy") is to draw the conclusion that, just because two things seem related, for example following the same pattern over time, they have the same cause. But, correlation does not imply causation. To really understand cause and effect, a much more detailed investigation using statistical methods is often required.
Example of use
For example, there is a correlation between the number of fire fighters sent to a fire and the amount of damage done. If you just looked at a chart, the correlation might suggest that the fire fighters cause the damage. But in this example, the causing factor is instead the "size of the fire", which correlates with both the number of fire fighters sent and the amount of damage done.
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