In a statistical model–any statistical model–there is generally one way that a predictor X and a response Y can relate:
This relationship can take on different forms, of course, like a line or a curve, but there’s really only one relationship here to measure.
Usually the point is to model the predictive ability, the effect, of X on Y.
In other words, there is a clear response variable*, although not necessarily a causal relationship. We could have switched the direction of the arrow to indicate that Y predicts X or used a two-headed arrow to show a correlation, with no direction, but that’s a whole other story.
For our purposes, Y is the response variable and X the predictor.
But a third variable–another predictor–can relate to X and Y in a number of different ways. How this predictor relates to X and Y changes how we interpret the relationship between X and Y. [Read more…] about Five Common Relationships Among Three Variables in a Statistical Model