1.7 Exploring Correlations

Figure 1.7 Egg and sperm cell

When faced with a compelling correlation, such as the relationship between the Pill and cervical cancer, scientists must challenge themselves to consider whether the correlation suggests causality (e.g, the possible relationship between absences and course performance), is meaningless (e.g., presumably, the relationship between divorce and margarine), or whether the correlation may provide clues to other potential causes. For example, could using the Pill be associated with anything else that might be potentially carcinogenic? What do you think?


In her discussion of these findings, Brinton noted “In addition, there was some evidence that pill associations were most pronounced among women who had never used barrier methods of contraception or who had histories of genital infections…”

  Points to Ponder

Given this statement, and what you may already know about cervical cancer, what were some obvious follow-up research possibilities?



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The Evolution and Biology of Sex Copyright © 2020 by Sehoya Cotner and Deena Wassenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.