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The use of multiple antennas has found various applications in the area of wireless communications. One such application has recently become very popular and is referred to as the multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antenna system. The main idea behind MIMO is to establish independent parallel channels between multiple transmit and receive antennas. Each channel uses the same frequency, and the transmissions occur simultaneously. In such a configuration, the amount of data transmitted increases linearly with the number of parallel channels, which is what makes MIMO so popular in the wireless world. The enormous capacity offered by MIMO systems is not realizable when the parallel channels are highly correlated. The goal of this article is to highlight the correlation concept and its impact on MIMO systems. Although correlation can be defined in many dimensions, here we focus on spatial correlation, and specifically consider antenna correlations in mobile units. We provide an overview of spatial correlation and present its underlying parameters in detail. Special attention is given to mutual coupling since it has signal decorrelation and antenna gain reduction effects. We then present how correlation in a MIMO system affects the amount of data that can be transmitted (MIMO capacity) and briefly review how power should be distributed with the knowledge of correlation. Analyses indicate that in real propagation environments, the high capacity gain of MIMO systems can be realized with improved antenna selection algorithms and power allocation strategies.