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Confounding
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"Confounding factor" redirects here. For other uses, see

Confounding factor (disambiguation).
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In statistics, a confounding variable (also confounding factor, lurking variable, a confound, or confounder) is an

extraneous variable in a

statistical model that

correlates (positively or negatively) with both the

dependent variable and the

independent variable. The methodologies of scientific studies therefore need to account for these variables - either through experimental design, in which case, one achieves

control, or through statistical means, in which case we are said to account for them - to avoid a

false positive (Type I) error; an erroneous conclusion that the dependent variables are in a

causal relationship with the

independent variable. Such a relation between two observed variables is termed a

spurious relationship. Thus, confounding is a major threat to the validity of inferences made about cause and effect, i.e.

internal validity, as the observed effects should be attributed to the independent variable rather than the confounder.

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