illusory correlation

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illusory correlation

[i‚lü·zə·rē ‚kä·rə′lā·shən]
(statistics)
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As our minds begin to rely on the cognitive bias of illusory correlations, they begin to develop the foundations for enduring stereotypes.
Stroessner and Plaks (2001), in their review of a cognitive process potentially underlying the erroneous perceptions of group differences and the creation of stereotypes--i.e., the formation of illusory correlations (or perceptions of an association between two variables that are objectively uncorrelated)--presented yet another possible relationship between bias and the thoroughness of processing.
Hamilton and Gifford (1976) were the first to demonstrate the role of distinctiveness-based illusory correlations in the formation of stereotypes.
Distinctiveness-based illusory correlations have been of great interest in part because of their implications for the formation of social stereotypes (Hamilton & Sherman, 1989).
Stroessner and Plaks (2001) reviewed research suggesting that illusory correlations are most likely to be perceived when people have the motivation and cognitive capacity to process social information with a moderate degree of thoroughness.
Distinctiveness-based illusory correlations and stereotyping: A meta-analytic integration.
Illusory correlation and the maintenance of stereotypic beliefs.
In this study the authors focus on conditions that bias the perceived covariation of social stimuli, resulting in so-called 'illusory correlations'.
The fact that stimulus groups simply identified by A and B help to create expectations about differences between them is ironic, because the group labels A and B were originally used with the intention of eliminating expectations associated with real groups which might otherwise explain illusory correlations (see Hamilton & Rose, 1980).
Therefore, the purpose of the present study is to disentangle the relative contribution of the group and behaviour dimensions of the stimulus distribution to the perception of illusory correlation. In line with the first study, we expect that any emphasis on the group dimension will stimulate comparison between the stimulus groups, resulting in stronger illusory correlations.
To summarize, the aim of the second study is to investigate the relative weight of the group dimension and behaviour dimension in the perception of illusory correlations. We predict stronger illusory correlations in the group-prominent condition than in the behaviour-prominent and standard conditions, and stronger illusory correlations in the standard than in the behaviour-prominent condition.
While what they do might well be valid, how they say it when consciously reconstructing it often takes the form of illusory correlations, errors of cause-effect interpretations, or generalization beyond the bounds of their experience.