Pearson r correlation coefficients for various distributions of paired data (Credit: Denis Boigelot, Wikimedia Commons) |

A paper published this week in Science outlines a new statistic called the maximal information coefficient (MIC), which is able to equally describe the correlation between paired variables regardless of linear or nonlinear relationship. In other words, as Pearson's r gives a measure of the noise surrounding a linear regression, MIC should give similar scores to equally noisy relationships regardless of type.