Correlation Expert Explains How 5 Questions Allow Him To Predict Almost Anything About Anyone

“We are predictable,” correlations expert Shaun Gallagher observed about humans in a recent interview on Reddit.

Gallagher, a former newspaper editor, runs correlated.org, a site that polls registered users on a wide variety of questions to identify strange correlations, ranging from the tendency of pot smokers to prefer sweet snacks to the tendency of Twitter users to remember their dreams. He also recently released a book.

“Our answers to five basic questions are enough to predict our preferences and opinions about a whole lot of other things,” Gallagher wrote. These questions are:

  • Your sex

  • Whether you have any children

  • Whether you think pot should be legalized

  • Whether you think you’re a good singer

  • Whether you like mayonnaise

Gender is used to predict level of risk aversion and capacity for empathy; parenthood is an indicator of knowledge about pop-culture references and issues involving the younger generation; opinions about pot are a good way to measure leanings on political and social issues; people who say they are good at singing tend to say they’re good at most things, with the same being true in reverse; and mayo tolerance is indicative of whether or not you’re a picky eater.

Gallagher posted correlations at Redditors’ requests, and Redditors offered candid reactions to the findings.

For instance, 55 per cent of people say they are good at parallel parking, but amongst those with not very symmetrical faces, 71 per cent say they’re good at parallel parking.

“Cool!” wrote Redditor pithofthematter, “I absolutely kill it at parallel parking (this is very much an objective fact…). and I also have one ear slightly higher than the other. Fascinating.”

Here are some of the other, most commented on correlations Gallagher included within the AMA:

  • In general, 39 per cent of people say they have been cheated on. But among those who are better at punctuality than punctuation, 58 per cent have been cheated on.
  • In general, 26 per cent of people wouldn’t want to know the sex of a baby before it’s born. But among those who can walk across a room with a book balanced on their head, 40 per cent wouldn’t want to know the sex of a baby before it’s born.
  • 60 per cent of people who have smoked marijuana prefer sweet snacks over salty, compared with 49 per cent of people in general.
  • In general, 37 per cent of people find garden gnomes to be creepy. But among those who are not happy with their height, 56 per cent find garden gnomes to be creepy.
  • In general, 22 per cent of people have a Pinterest account. But among those who own cardigans, 39 per cent have a Pinterest account.
  • In general, 39 per cent of people say they’re good at remembering their dreams. But among those who regularly tweet on Twitter, 57 per cent say they’re good at remembering their dreams.
  • In general, 26 per cent of people wouldn’t want to know the sex of a baby before it’s born. But among those who can walk across a room with a book balanced on their head, 40 per cent wouldn’t want to know the sex of a baby before it’s born.
  • In general, 26 per cent of people wouldn’t want to know the sex of a baby before it’s born. But among those who can walk across a room with a book balanced on their head, 40 per cent wouldn’t want to know the sex of a baby before it’s born.
  • In general, 54 per cent of people have taken a philosophy course. But among those who stand up to wipe, 77 per cent have taken a philosophy course.

On his site, he posts charts to go along with some of his findings. Here are some of the best ones he has posted recently:

Shaun Gallagher | correlated.org

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.