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Correlation

A statistical phenomenon (and a technique for estimating its strength) whereby knowledge of one fact about a thing implies some knowledge of a second fact about that thing. For example, because the volume and weight of water are correlated, knowing that a quantity of water is one gallon also means knowing that its weight is eight and one-third pounds. Linear correlation, the kind most often encountered, means that an increase in one factor in some proportion (say, a doubling) changes the other in the same proportion. With curvilinear correlation, as between the radius and the area of a circle, this is not true, despite the fact that the correlation may be very strong in the sense that knowledge of one fact tells you precisely the other fact. These are examples of variables perfectly correlated or nearly so; more often, correlation is only partial – For example, the correlation between the age and height of a child. The correlation coefficient gives the strength of the linear relationship between the two variables.