How about Facebook related to lower grades? This is a classic case of causation versus correlation. Of course, I'm referring to the recent study at Ohio State showing that frequent Facebook users have lower grades than those who keep their noses in their books.
I have one word for this: Duh. The sources of bias in this study make it a poster child for a high school statistics class. Researchers found that students who were frequent users of Facebook tended to have lower GPAs than those who didn't use the social network:
Typically, Facebook users in the study had grade point averages between 3.0 and 3.5, while nonusers had GPAs between 3.5 and 4.0.
So here are the potential biases:
I have a suspicious and entirely unscientific feeling that all this research may tell us so far is that bookwormy, people-uncomfortable types do well in school tests...So nothing's changed, right?
The researchers did acknowledge the idea of correlation/causation, but the media haven't been as keen to publicize it:
"We can't say that use of Facebook leads to lower grades and less studying, but we did find a relationship there," Aryn Karpinski, co-author of the study and a doctoral student at OSU, said in a statement.
So keep Facebooking, my friends. Better yet, dump Facebook and create a Ning. You communication and creativity skills will serve you well in the workforce, especially those of you majoring in the hard sciences.