The following are extractions from an article recently published in Automotive News. After you have read them, what might you conclude?
Married people who drive an Audi are the [automobile] industry’s biggest adulterers, according to a British Web site that helps them do it.
The site, IllicitEncounters.com, which proudly describes itself as “the U.K.’s leading married dating site,” says Audi displaced BMW as the most popular auto brand among its 800,000 members. It says 22 percent of its members drive Audis and 14 percent drive BMWs.
Hyundai . . . fewer than 2 percent of Illicit Encounters’ members drive one.
It would be easy to speculate from this information that people who drive prestige makes of automobiles such as Audi and BMW may have a proclivity to cheat on their spouse. However, one should not conclude that the entire world population of married Audi drivers has a statistically significant higher than average propensity to commit adultery. What would be required to make a scientific conclusion about the behavior of people who drive various makes of cars? One would need to survey a large, representative sample of married drivers (respondents randomly selected by the researcher, not self selected) of the more than 50 makes of motor vehicles about their patterns of adulterous behavior or lack thereof. As a side note it may be difficult to get people to answer this question honestly, if at all.
So if one reads this article, especially just the headline, Audi Is Cheaters Top Choice, Says UK Website, he/she may insist that his/her spouse trade-in the Audi for a Hyundai! The reading public would certainly be better served if its journalists were required to be certified as competent in mathematical statistics and sampling methods.