Illusory Correlation .refers to the perception of a relationship where None exists.It is the tendency to see relationships, or correlations, between events that are actually unrelated

Illusory correlations help explain many superstitious and erroneous beliefs such as the presumption that the full moon causes abnormal behavior, that sugar makes children hyperactive, and that weather changes trigger arthritis pain. As noted by David Myers, once “we believe there is a relationship between two things, we are likely to notice and recall instances that confirm our belief” (2004, p. 33).

We especially have a tendency to notice a relationship between distinctive or unusual events, say the thought of a song and it then coming on the radio. The problem in this situation and many others fueled by the illusory correlation is that we fail to consider other important information. For example, to fully evaluate this event we also have to consider the instances when the song was played on the radio and we weren't thinking about it and the times when we were thinking about the song and it wasn't played on the radio. Each piece of information is equally important in thinking critically about such events, though we are less likely to notice these latter instances as they are not distinctive.

Related Articles

Pygmalion effect at■■■■■■■
Pygmalion effect refers to the idea that if people believe that something is true, they will act in a . . . Read More
Conformity at■■■■■■
Conformity refers to the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, or behavior in ways that are consistent . . . Read More
Attribute at■■■■■■
Attribute is a characteristic of a person or a thing. In psychology, an attribute is a characteristic . . . Read More
Need for affiliation at■■■■■■
Need for affiliation refers to the dispositional tendency to seek out othersthe extent to which a person . . . Read More
Gambler’s fallacy at■■■■■■
Gambler’s fallacy is defined as an erroneous belief that a random process, for example, a coin flip . . . Read More
Cognitive conceit at■■■■■
Cognitive conceit refers to Elkind’s term for children in Piaget’s stage of concrete operations who . . . Read More
Placebo at■■■■■
Placebo refers to a substance that a person believes will relieve symptoms such as pain but that contains . . . Read More
Positive illusory bias at■■■■■
Positive illusory bias refers to a person"s report of higher self-esteem than is warranted by his or . . . Read More
Construct systems at■■■■■
Construct systems is a term used by Kelly that refers to the collection of personal constructs with which . . . Read More
Accelerant at■■■■■
Accelerant in the psychology context refers to any factor, condition, or stimulus that significantly . . . Read More