What Is a Positive Correlation in Psychology?

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Correlation studies are used to show the relationship between two variables, and positive correlation means that an increase in one variable results in an increase of another variable. Find out how to apply positive correlation to everyday life with information from a licensed mental health counselor in this free video on psychology.

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Video Transcript

Hi my name is John Bosworth. I'm a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in St. Pete, Florida and I would like to talk a little bit about what is a positive correlation in psychology. Correlational studies or the purpose of correlational studies is to really show the relationship between two variables. There are three possible results. You can either have a positive correlation and a negative correlation or no correlation. Positive correlation, the variables if one variable increase so does the other variable. In a negative correlation if one variable increases the other one might decrease. In no correlation there is literally no relationship between the change or the intensity of the variables that are studied. A kind of an extreme way to look at this is smoking. A lot of people realize that smoking or they think that smoking causes lung cancer and most people would agree that it probably does but if we really look at it smoking is correlated and positively correlated with lung cancer so one variable would be smoking and the other would be lung cancer but we can't say that one actually causes the other. Now this is an extreme example but hopefully it will explain the positive correlation. If somebody has a genetic predisposition toward lung cancer do they also have some type of personality characteristic that predisposes them to smoke so a correlational study we can never say that A causes B. We can only say that A is directly related in somehow to B. So if you have a change in one variable you usually see a change in the other variable. My name is John Bosworth and we're talking about what is positive correlation in psychology.


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