Spurious correlations

Replicated Typo has had a bit of a side-line in discussing strange links between cultural traits.  These spurious correlations have come to light thanks to big datasets and more sophisticated statistics.  However, because of the way cultural evolution works, these statistical links are much more likely than chance.  Sean and James discuss this in their paper on the Nomothetic Approach (Roberts & Winters, 2012A).

This page is a collection of posts about spurious correlations in cultural evolution.

Post on spurious statistical links:

Chains of spurious correlations (Roberts & Winters, 2013)

Altitude and Ejectives

Gender and economic power

Chocolate consumption and serial killers Citable in Roberts & Winters (2013)

Future tense and Economic Decisions:  Post 1 Post 2

Number of children and basic word order Citable in Roberts & Winters (2012)

Distribution of Acacia Trees and the Distribution of tonal languages  Citable in Roberts & Winters (2012)

Extramarital Sex and Population Size Citable in Roberts & Winters (2013)

Morphological complexity and the Partaking of Siestas Citable in Roberts & Winters (2013)

Linguistic Diversity and Traffic accidents Citable in Roberts & Winters (2013)

The story of the language evolution tree

Flag colours and number of basic colour categories Citable in Roberts & Winters (2012)

Posts on Statistical methods:

Tone and ASPM/Microcephalin

Tea leaves and Lingua Francas

Reconstructing linguistic phylogenies

General posts:

Our paper on the Nomothetic approach and spurious correlations

Spurious correlations Bonanza: A chain of spurious correlations.

Untangling spurious statistics with Bayesian Causal Graphs

Podcast on spurious correlations


Roberts, S. & Winters, J. (2012) Social structure and language structure: The new nomothetic approach. Psychology of language and Communication. 16(2). Special issue on Language as Social Coordination. Open Access

Roberts S, Winters J (2013) Linguistic Diversity and Traffic Accidents: Lessons from Statistical Studies of Cultural Traits. PLoS ONE 8(8): e70902. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0070902 Open Access


Chocolate and Serial Killers:

Savings and Future Tense:

Spurious Statistics

Language Log on High altitude ejectives

Wired Science Blog on social sensitivity

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