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ERIC Number: EJ1056733
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Temporal and Statistical Information in Causal Structure Learning
McCormack, Teresa; Frosch, Caren; Patrick, Fiona; Lagnado, David
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v41 n2 p395-416 Mar 2015
Three experiments examined children's and adults' abilities to use statistical and temporal information to distinguish between common cause and causal chain structures. In Experiment 1, participants were provided with conditional probability information and/or temporal information and asked to infer the causal structure of a 3-variable mechanical system that operated probabilistically. Participants of all ages preferentially relied on the temporal pattern of events in their inferences, even if this conflicted with statistical information. In Experiments 2 and 3, participants observed a series of interventions on the system, which in these experiments operated deterministically. In Experiment 2, participants found it easier to use temporal pattern information than statistical information provided as a result of interventions. In Experiment 3, in which no temporal pattern information was provided, children from 6- to 7-years-old, but not younger children, were able to use intervention information to make causal chain judgments, although they had difficulty when the structure was a common cause. The findings suggest that participants, and children in particular, may find it more difficult to use statistical information than temporal pattern information because of its demands on information processing resources. However, there may also be an inherent preference for temporal information.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A