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ERIC Number: EJ831468
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
A Self-Agency Bias in Preschoolers' Causal Inferences
Kushnir, Tamar; Wellman, Henry M.; Gelman, Susan A.
Developmental Psychology, v45 n2 p597-603 Mar 2009
Preschoolers' causal learning from intentional actions--causal interventions--is subject to a self-agency bias. The authors propose that this bias is evidence-based, in other words, that it is responsive to causal uncertainty. In the current studies, two causes (one child controlled, one experimenter controlled) were associated with one or two effects, first independently, then simultaneously. When initial independent effects were probabilistic, and thus subsequent simultaneous actions were causally ambiguous, children showed a self-agency bias. Children showed no bias when initial effects were deterministic. Further controls established that children's self-agency bias is not a wholesale preference but rather is influenced by uncertainty in causal evidence. These results demonstrate that children's own experience of action influences their causal learning, and the findings suggest possible benefits in uncertain and ambiguous everyday learning contexts. (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
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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