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Ratios of one variable over another are frequently used in social psychological research in order to control for a hear relationship between the numerator and the denominator. However, the use of ratio variables can introduce spuriousness into data analyses. This article provides a description and explanation of the problem of spuriousness in ratio correlations and it illustrates this problem with research on restaurant tipping.


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© Wiley. Final version published as: Lynn, M., & Bond, C. F. (1992). Conceptual meaning and spuriousness in ratio correlations: The case of restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 22(4), 327-341. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.