Talk:Illusory correlation

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Former good article nominee Illusory correlation was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Reference needed[edit]

This page needs a reference to D. L. Hamilton.

Why philosophy?[edit]

I'm intrigued that this article is listed as a Philosophy stub and within the scope of the Philosophy wikiproject. Illusory correlation is an empirical phenomenon, demonstrated in experimental psychology, that affects informal inferences about statistics or causality. I can't see where Philosophy comes into it. Anyone care to make the case? MartinPoulter (talk) 13:54, 3 December 2009 (UTC)


Hi, I'm going to be editing this page over the next couple of months, and just wanted to let everyone know where i'm starting to look for new information.

Denrell, J., & Le Mens, G. (2011). Seeking positive experiences can produce illusory correlations. Cognition, 119(3), 313-324. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2011.01.007

This article discusses the formation of illusory correlations, and proposes a "halo" effect. The article also discusses the history of how illusory correlations were thought to form, discusses the sample rule and correlations.

Eder, A. B., Fiedler, K., & Hamm-Eder, S. (2011). Illusory correlations revisited: The role of pseudocontingencies and working-memory capacity. The Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology, 64(3), 517-532. doi:10.1080/17470218.2010.509917

This article talks about the limits of working memory on illusory correlations, and feedback effects. They also go into pseudocontingencies.

Murphy, R. A., Schmeer, S., Vallée-Tourangeau, F., Mondragón, E., & Hilton, D. (2011). Making the illusory correlation effect appear and then disappear: The effects of increased learning. The Quarterly Journal Of Experimental Psychology, 64(1), 24-40. doi:10.1080/17470218.2010.493615

This article also discusses the formation of illusory correlations, more specifically the effects of increased training to detect these correlations on making them.

Ratliff, K. A., & Nosek, B. A. (2010). Creating distinct implicit and explicit attitudes with an illusory correlation paradigm. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(5), 721-728. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.04.011

This article discusses the formation of illusory correlations, and the differences in the biases formed based on amount of positive/negative information presented about two groups.

Kutzner, F., Vogel, T., Freytag, P., & Fiedler, K. (2011). A robust classic: Illusory correlations are maintained under extended operant learning. Experimental Psychology, 58(6), 443-453. doi:10.1027/1618-3169/a000112

This article discusses feedback effects on both positive and negative illusory correlations, and the use of a rewards system to deter illusory correlations.

Sherman, J. W., Kruschke, J. K., Sherman, S. J., Percy, E. J., Petrocelli, J. V., & Conrey, F. R. (2009). Attentional processes in stereotype formation: A common model for category accentuation and illusory correlation. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 96(2), 305-323.

According to the model, the features of majority groups are learned earlier than the features of minority groups. In turn, the features that become associated with a minority are those that most distinguish it from the majority. This second process is driven by an attention-shifting mechanism that directs attention toward group–attribute pairings that facilitate differentiation of the two groups and may lead to the formation of stronger minority stereotypes. - taken from abstract.

Meiser, T., & Hewstone, M. (2006). Illusory and spurious correlations: Distinct phenomena or joint outcomes of exemplar-based category learning?. European Journal Of Social Psychology, 36(3), 315-336. doi:10.1002/ejsp.304

This study compared illusory and spurious correlations, finding that they are both affected by exemplar-based category learning the same way.

Smith, M. R., & Alpert, G. P. (2007). Explaining police bias: A theory of social conditioning and illusory correlation. Criminal Justice And Behavior, 34(10), 1262-1283. doi:10.1177/0093854807304484

This article discusses the effects of illusory correlations on social conditioning, specifically with the overrepresented number of Blacks and Hispanics in police stops, searches and arrests.

I may also look back at other articles already cited to see if more information can be pulled from them. If you know of any other sources that will be helpful feel free to post them here. Fotherge (talk) 02:56, 29 February 2012 (UTC)

When I begin adding information to this article, I plan on expanding on the examples section and the explanations section. I will also be adding a new section titled Formation of Illusory Correlations, in which I will discuss the multiple theories of how illusory correlations are formed, how they compare to other forms of correlations, and how to avoid forming illusory correlations. Fotherge (talk) 01:07, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

User:Fotherge/sandbox —Preceding undated comment added 22:42, 27 March 2012 (UTC).

Thanks for your extensive work. It needs some style changes to bring it into line with Wikipedia style, but it is great to have this range of references. MartinPoulter (talk) 01:25, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

DYK nomination[edit]

Fotherge (talk) 16:28, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Not a logical fallacy[edit]

I'm surprised to see illusory correlation listed as a logical fallacy, and can't find a source to justify this. What's the justification? It's wrong in the same way that it would be wrong to characterise optical illusions as logical fallacies. MartinPoulter (talk) 01:27, 13 July 2012 (UTC)

PSY 499 Editing[edit]

Hi, I'm Autum. I'm contributing to this article as part of a senior seminar. In my initial overview of the article, there needs to be some polishing up. There's a lot of extraneous material, the classification is wrong, and it is not in "encyclopedia" format.

I would like some comments from the group members I'm working with as well as the general public on what seems fuzzy and could be made clearer, moved around, or eliminated altogether. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BrooxBroox91 (talkcontribs) 23:49, 11 September 2012 (UTC)

To start, the introductory portion of the article is too informal and generalized. A precise definition is needed without all of the examples. Examples certainly have their place, but should be limited and given their own section in the article. "If you don't understand it well enough to explain it simply, you don't understand it."Rebecca.lidh (talk) 14:47, 13 September 2012 (UTC)

Fellow classmates! This is bkel and I am looking forward to our Wikipedia editing experience together! The items I recognized for improvement while reading the article on illusory correlations included organization as well as possible omissions, extensions, and a few grammer/spelling mistakes. Bkel (talk) 03:21, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

As suggested, the introductory section of the article should be expanded. There is one paragraph in the introduction that seems to fit better under the history section, and one paragraph under both the intro and history that could be omitted? Any suggestions about strategy, should we tackle sections at a time, proceeding to the next only when we have reached a consensus-whether that be by addition, subtraction, or reorganization?Bkel (talk) 11:36, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

Hello, classmates, This is Jenny user Jennisama84. I have been reviewing the article as well and have noticed several structure issues that can be edited. The Explanations section seems very scattered with information. The Theories are also not very uniform with information. Some of the theories are lacking, while other theories have too much information. bkel, I think tackling section at a time could work and if it becomes to slow of a process than maybe splitting up tasks and regrouping for final consensus could work as well. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Ordinary Wikipedian here. Thanks all for your comments above. Looking forward to your improvements to the article. It's a very, very interesting topic and it will be wonderful to have a really high-quality article about it. MartinPoulter (talk) 12:32, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

Hey everybody, bkel here. To begin with, I've made five minor edits throughout the article consisting mostly of wording improvements and a spelling error. Also, moved second paragraph of intro to history section, omitted third paragraph of intro which seemed unnecessary. Omitted second paragraph and last sentence of first paragraph under history section which also seemed unnecessary. We probably need to add more to the intro now? Let me know your thoughts?Bkel (talk) 11:45, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Looks good so far- good catch on fixing that dodgy grammar. Question for the group: do illusory correlations break down into different types? I seem to recall from years ago that they could arise either from preconceptions about the topic, or purely abstractly when a minority seems to be correlated with a minority. If that's a legitimate distinction that there are sources for, maybe the intro and structure can highlight that? Just a thought, MartinPoulter (talk) 14:34, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Hey there bkel, it's Autum here again. Your 5 minor edits look good to me. I've reviewed what you changed and took out and I agree that that's good. Right now I say all 4 of us from our group get familiar with article format according to Wikipedia's guidelines so we can go ahead and format the article that way as we omit from, touch up, and add to the article.

Martin, Regarding whether illusory correlations break down into subtypes... I'm sure we can pull some journal articles or literature on that. So I will begin a Google Scholar search and within the next day or 2 have that up. Thank you so much for that suggestion! — Preceding unsigned comment added by BrooxBroox91 (talkcontribs) 19:33, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback guys! I agree with your suggestions and will be working on them this week, specifically focusing on the article format, types and origins of illusory correlations as Martin suggested and cognitve and social psych textbook material as our professor suggested.Bkel (talk) 10:58, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

Alright. Autum here again. I combed over the article more thoroughly and here are my suggestions: The article opens with the definition of illusory correlation. I say we check up on the definition and see if we can possibly improve it. If we can reach a unanimous consensus that it's fine as is, then we'll leave it. Immediately following the definition, they list specific examples, and I think those should be omitted and used in a later paragraph. In the second-to-last sentence of the 1st paragraph, I suggest that we link the term "stereotypes" to the page on stereotypes. The last sentence of the first paragraph seems a bit out of place and like it's just stating the same thing over again, so it makes sense if we omit it.

In the second paragraph, the last sentence includes "pencil-less tests" and I think that wording needs to be completely redone.

Under the subheading "Explanations," in the first paragraph, there is talk of heuristics, availability, and representativeness. After citation 12, where the sentence begins with "Representativeness" italicized, we should reword it to read, "Another of these is representativeness, which is the degree...."

Under the subheading "Theories" I had a question whether or not Information Processing is a theory or should be moved under "Explanations" so we need to check up on that before we make a move. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BrooxBroox91 (talkcontribs) 01:08, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

I'd like to add that under the subheading "Learning effects on illusory correlations" hey talk about 2 Murphy et al. experiments. But they fail to talk about 2 specifically different ones. If we're going to keep this in the article, we need to fix that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:53, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

good edits, Jenny here. Autum, I agree with the changes to the first intro paragraph. Maybe we can think of a better example for the second paragraph that would eliminate the "pencil-less test" issue completely. I also think that the Information processing is more of an explanation. I am going to do some more research on that and get back with you though. All the other edits suggested look good and I agree with moving forward. When I was looking at the explanations section I noticed that some of the studies mentioned are precise and to the point but the Berndsen studies are very lengthy and might be unnecessary.Jennisama84 (talk) 01:33, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

I totally agree, Jenny. I'm not sure if they ought to be eliminated or just made more clear. Using terms like "group" to indicate both the hypothetical ones used in the study as well as the actual participants is very confusing. I have a great tendency to take out more than add (or even keep), so I may be over compensating for that tendency by saying this, but a simple rewrite of the Berndsen studies may not only eliminate the confusion but also reduce the length and tediousness of the section. I will pull the referenced articles and see if I can better sum them up.Rebecca.lidh (talk) 01:56, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Hey again groupmates, its bkel. While you guys are working on those points, in an effort to address article format I will make a couple of alterations so let me know what you think and if not to everyone's approval I will undo them. I believe the best style would be a combination of newstyle with the most important and interesting information presented first to capture the reader with longer summaries towards the end for those readers who desire more detail. So, with that in mind I am trying to move the "history" section to the end of the article, the "examples" after the lead section which I agree should expand on the definition and include a link to article stereotypes, then "explanations", "theories", and "history".Bkel (talk) 20:24, 29 September 2012 (UTC) Also agree that we should consider combining/condensing the explanations and theories sections.Bkel (talk) 20:32, 29 September 2012 (UTC)

I pulled the Berndsen study. Though I'm sure it is meaningful to the topic, it is more complex than what I think is appropriate for an encyclopedian audience. I was thinking that we should replace it with any of the studies discussed in our textbook under the Illusory Correlation section. I attempted to pull those, but I don't think we have access to the full text and I'm not sure how to do an inter-library loan. However, based on the clarity of the chapter versus the clarity of this section, it is my recommendation that we pull the Berndsen study and replace it with one or two studies cited in our book. Rebecca.lidh (talk) 10:07, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

It has occurred to me that these studies I mentioned are already in this article in the example section. I'm afraid I don't see a purposeful difference between the example and explanation section. Therefore my new recommendation is to combine these sections into one and eliminate the Berndsen study.Rebecca.lidh (talk) 13:14, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Bkel here again. Ditto on combining the explanations and theories sections along with the eliminating the Berndsen study which would condense the article more towards an encyclopedic style and make it more attractive to the reader. I have also found a social psych textbook from a prior course and would like to pull some info from it to add to our lead section, which is important to entice the reader to want to read further. Will be working on these things the next couple of days and let's hope we have made the article more interesting, understandable, and accurate.Bkel (talk) 19:41, 6 October 2012 (UTC)

Well, here goes. I have somewhat gutted the article rearranging sections, added a bit to the lead section, and omitted the Berndsen study as discussed. Just hope we make it more reader friendly.Bkel (talk) 12:43, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Hey Bkel, it's Autum here again. Just wanted to say thanks for gutting the article. And I will say to Rebecca, thanks for getting rid of the irrelevant stuff like the the explanation and example sections. I'm about to go through and eliminate some of the quickfails and then come back and touch base about what I've done. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BrooxBroox91 (talkcontribs) 03:43, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Alright guys. I eliminated the grammatical quickfails from the first paragraph. I took out the last sentence because it was literally a repetition of the first sentence just cited by another study. In the second paragraph, there was a sentence fragment that I turned into a complete sentence. That section should look pretty good now. Any other wikipedians, feel free to let us know what should be added to or eliminated from the first 2 paragraphs (the first section) or if they're OK as is.BrooxBroox91 (talk) 04:29, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, that really helped a lot. Because one of our quickfails is the cleanup banner indicating the informality of the article, I have edited (mainly just the introduction) the article for some of the more obvious informalities. Based on other articles I've seen, I was wondering if we should move the history section back to the top. What do you guys think? Rebecca.lidh (talk) 13:54, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

I have moved the history section back to the top as previously suggested. Rebecca.lidh (talk) 12:17, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

bkel here. I deleted the excess info from the history and example sections; the entire sections of self-affirmation, terror management theory, and sampling effects. Our professor also suggested we summarize the explicit versus implicit attitudes sectionBkel (talk) 14:14, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Groupmates, I went back and tried to cite my reference for the info I added to the lead section. Not sure if I did it right or whether it should go under the sources section and how to place it there? Also was thinking about adding self-affirmation and self-serving bias to the see also section, what do you think? Bkel (talk) 21:27, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Hey yhere Bkel and other group mates. I just reviewed the changes to the article. Bkel-- thanks for eliminating everything that our professor suggested. The article is much less overwhelming now and most of the reduntant clutter has been removed. Now, we do need to summarize explicit vs. implicit attitudes. I'm going ahead and starting on that. If anyone from the group or just wikipedians in general have any suggestions on how to cut down "explicit vs. implicit attitudes" for a nice, wikipedia-style summary, let us know! BrooxBroox91 (talk) 20:49, 15 October 2012 (UTC) Autum here. I just quickly edited the paragraph about implicit and explicit attitudes. Took out a couple of sentences, fixed a grammatical error, and combined some things that were repeated. Let me know how you guys think it reads now. BrooxBroox91 (talk) 20:59, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Bkel, thanks for putting that extra reference in the lead. What you've put is fine but, in the interest of helping other users verify the information for themselves, it's a good idea to put the page or page range when you're citing something from a book. When you are editing, there should be a Cite button on the top toolbar. This opens up another toolbar with a drop-down box for "Templates". If you click on that drop-down, you can select "book" or "Journal" and this brings up a form in which you can put the author, title, publisher, page and so on, and then it all gets formatted in the correct way, and it's a quick way of doing it. If you put in the ISBN of the book it can often fill in the book details automatically. That's how I recommend you put in new references. Good to see the changes all of you are making! MartinPoulter (talk) 21:18, 15 October 2012 (UTC)
I question whether the definition should be in terms of "data". It doesn't sound right to say that in everyday cases of illusory correlation people are seeing a relationship in data, or between two sets of data. Isn't it enough to say that they say a false relationship between two things? Or sets? Or qualities/attributes? MartinPoulter (talk) 21:18, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

Hey everybody, good looking out! Autumn, your edits do make that section read much better. Martin, thanks so much for your input and I will correct that citation and also take another look at the definition as you have suggested, I agree, the use of "data" does seem somewhat impersonalBkel (talk) 00:26, 16 October 2012 (UTC) Just corrected the citation guysBkel (talk) 14:13, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

Jenny here, I went into the article and corrected the in-article citations and made them all consistent with APA format as suggested by Autumn. please let me know if I missed one. The article looks and reads great with all the changes.Jennisama84 (talk) 02:51, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks, Jenny. Looks great! Now if any wikipedians like Martin would like to give us any feedback, please do so. We are almost ready to submit this for good article status.BrooxBroox91 (talk) 03:18, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

I have added a couple of inter-wikipedia links to the history section that I thought were needed. I think we should look out for other terms or concepts that may have their own pages that we can link to for extra information.Rebecca.lidh (talk) 20:39, 17 October 2012 (UTC)

Good idea, Rebecca. I'll go through and look.BrooxBroox91 (talk) 01:22, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Just went back and replaced the term "data" with "random events" to better reflect the occurrence of everyday or real life cases as Martin suggested earlierBkel (talk) 10:22, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

I have done a pretty broad clean-up of the article to make it more readable. I didn't eliminate any content; just superfluous filler. I also added a few more inter-wiki links to the Working Memory Capacity section. Rebecca.lidh (talk) 00:15, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Alright guys, I have edited the information processing section as we discussed and will now attempt to submit for good article status.Bkel (talk) 00:33, 2 November 2012 (UTC) Illusory correlation currently nominated for good article status!?Bkel (talk) 01:07, 2 November 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Illusory correlation/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Delldot (talk · contribs) 01:21, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Hi, good work so far. Unfortunately I'm going to fail this for now because of lack of depth. One of the GA criteria states that the article needs to cover the topic comprehensively. I'll go into further detail below. If you'd like to keep working and improving the article I think that'd be great and I'm glad to help, whether or not you're interested in nominating it for GA again. Here's more detail on my current concerns with the article.

  • The article does not cover the topic in enough depth. It needs to be substantially expanded. The section that is linked to in the history section, Rorschach test#Illusory_and_invisible_correlations , is fascinating and goes into much more detail than we have here. There's also more depth at Stereotype#Illusory_correlation. This shows me that we could have a much more in-depth article here than we have now.
  • The lead section does not effectively summarize the article. All topics addressed in the article need to be summarized in the lead (e.g. the history). But what we have so far is good!
  • The article is not written very clearly. The language needs to be simplified so any layperson can understand it, that's who's going to be reading an encyclopedia article on the topic. So we need to get rid of technical jargon and language. e.g. explain what working-memory is rather than just linking to it.
  • Lacks images. We could make one like figure 1.5 in this book with a different example (e.g. pain and bad weather or whatever). We can also use images to illustrate examples, e.g.

Like I said, if you're interested in improving the article, let me know (by leaving me a message on my talk page) and I'll be happy to help however I can. There's the possibility of expanding it enough that it will one day merit GA status. This will take a great deal of writing, but if you're up for the task I'm glad to help however you need. But please don't renominate this at GAN if you just make minor changes without adding substantial content. Thank you for contributing and imporving the 'pedia! delldot ∇. 01:21, 17 January 2013 (UTC)