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Cause and Effect

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Michelle L

on 23 November 2011

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Transcript of Cause and Effect

Cause & Effect By the way, chapter 10 in EAA does a great job of explaining cause and effect! Cause and effect is all about causality... Causality is the relationship between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is a direct consequence of the first. Cause + Cause + Cause = Effect Causal argument underlies two of the most common, challenging, and difficult questions we confront in our lives: “Why?” and “What if?” Every time you try to answer a question that asks why, you engage in the process of causal analysis –-you attempt to determine a cause or series of causes for a particular effect. Every time you try to answer a question that asks why, you engage in the process of causal analysis –you attempt to determine a cause or series of causes for a particular effect. We do much cause-and-effect analysis in your writing in college. For example, in history you might be asked to determine the causes for the 1991 breakup of the former Soviet Union; in political science you might be asked to determine the critical issue in the 2012 presidential election; is sociology you might be asked to analyze the effects that the AIDS epidemic has had on sexual-behavior patterns among Americans; and in economics you might be asked to predict what will happen to our country if we enact large tax cuts. Cause-and-Effect is everywhere... Determining causes and effects is usually thought-provoking and at times quite complex. One reason for this is that there are two types of causes: 1) immediate causes, which are readily apparent because they are closest to the effect, and 2) ultimate causes, which, being somewhat removed, are not as apparent and may perhaps even be hidden. Furthermore, ultimate causes may bring about effects which themselves become immediate causes, thus creating a causal chain. aka a domino effect Consider the following causal chain: Sally, a computer salesperson, prepared extensively for a meeting with an important client (ultimate cause), impressed the client (immediate cause), and made a very large sale (effect). However, the chain did not stop there: the large sale caused her to be promoted to her employer (effect). Basically for Sally... being prepared promotion led to A second reason causal analysis can be so complex is that an effect may have any number of possible or actual causes, and a cause may have any number of possible or actual causes.
An upset stomach may be caused by eating spoiled food, but it may be caused by overeating, flu, allergy, nervousness, pregnancy, or any combination of those factors. For example, sexy clothes leads to making out
leads to impromptu sex leads to pregnancy
However, be careful when dealing with cause and effect... Don't jump to conclusions and don't fall into faulty reasoning... Take a look at the following causal argument...
How sound is it??? does wearing sexy clothes, always lead to pregnancy? HAHA, not always, right? Is this argument probable?
Can it happen? Yes, but... Just remember that correlation does not imply causation! So why do we care about cause and effect?
A cause and effect analysis is an attempt to understand why things happen as they do. People in many professions—accident investigators, scientists, historians, doctors, newspaper reporters, automobile mechanics, educators, police detectives—spend considerable effort trying to understand the causes and effects of human behavior and natural phenomena to gain better control over events and over ourselves. If we understand the causes of accidents, wars, and natural disasters, perhaps we can avoid them in the future. If we understand the consequences of our own behavior, perhaps we can modify our behavior in a way that will allow us to lead happier, safer lives.
and who doesn't want that, right?
One of the primary goals of education is to create empowered, analytic thinkers, capable of thinking through complex processes to make important decisions.



Whether you recognize cause-and-effect relationships or not, we are affected by them every day. Students experience them in their own lives, see them occur in the lives of others, read about them in both narrative and expository texts, and are asked to write about them. To be successful, you need to be able to clearly recognize these relationships so that they are able to think analytically in their personal and academic lives. Without the ability to identify these relationships, students are at risk socially and academically. They will not understand actions and consequences or be able to understand or describe phenomena at a deep level.

Consider this real-life cause and effect example A bicyclist moves into the traffic lane in order to pass a truck illegally parked in the bike lane. The driver of a car approaching from the rear slams on her brakes in order to avoid hitting the bicycle. A following car fails to stop in time, and smashes into the back of the first. The insurance companies disagree about who should be held responsible, and they go to court to decide who caused the accident.
My question for you is: who is at fault? And why?
(jot down your answer in your lecture notes) One Side's Causal Chain
Truck parked illegally leads to the bicyclist being forced into the regular traffic lanes leads to car A breaking suddenly which then leads to car B hitting car A.
However, what arguments are likely to be made in court? The bicyclist's lawyer will probably claim that the illegally parked truck caused her client to swerve into the lane of traffic. The lawyer for the driver of the first car will probably claim that the bicyclist's actions caused her client to slam on the brakes. The lawyer for the second driver will probably claim that the first car's sudden stop caused his client to smash into its back.
The bicyclist's lawyer, for example, is actually arguing that:
Normally the bicyclist would have continued in the bike lane, but in this instance he swerved into the lane of traffic.
The only significant difference between "normally" and "in this case" is the presence of the illegally parked truck.
Therefore, the truck caused the bicyclist to swerve.

See...cause and effect is useful ;-) Cause and effect is also good to know because it can help you determine which one of your proposed solutions in your problem-solution essay is best! Through comparing the immediate and the ultimate effects in your paper, you will have a stronger argument because it shows you actually thought logically about your solutions. okay...any questions? Happy paper writing!
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