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Causal Quartet: When statistics alone do not tell the full story

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Friday, September 15, 2023
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Lucy D'Agostino McGowan, Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University
StatSci Seminar

This talk will delve into two major causal inference obstacles: (1) identifying which variables to account for and (2) assessing the impact of unmeasured variables. The first half of the talk will showcase a Causal Quartet. In the spirit of Anscombe's Quartet, this is a set of four datasets with identical statistical properties, yet different true causal effects due to differing data generating mechanisms. These simple datasets provide a straightforward example for statisticians to point to when explaining these concepts to collaborators and students. The second half of the talk will focus on how statistical techniques can be leveraged to examine the impact of a potential unmeasured confounder. We will examine sensitivity analyses under several scenarios with varying levels of information about potential unmeasured confounders, introducing the tipr R package, which provides tools for conducting sensitivity analyses in a flexible and accessible manner.

Contact: Karen Whitesell