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ERIC Number: EJ921406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
The Mental Representation of Causal Conditional Reasoning: Mental Models or Causal Models
Ali, Nilufa; Chater, Nick; Oaksford, Mike
Cognition, v119 n3 p403-418 Jun 2011
In this paper, two experiments are reported investigating the nature of the cognitive representations underlying causal conditional reasoning performance. The predictions of causal and logical interpretations of the conditional diverge sharply when inferences involving "pairs" of conditionals--such as "if P[subscript 1] then Q" and "if P[subscript 2] then Q"--are considered. From a causal perspective, the causal direction of these conditionals is critical: are the "P[subscript i] causes" of "Q"; or symptoms "caused by Q". The rich variety of inference patterns can naturally be modelled by Bayesian networks. A pair of causal conditionals where "Q" is an effect corresponds to a "collider" structure where the two causes ("P[subscript i]") converge on a common effect. In contrast, a pair of causal conditionals where "Q" is a cause corresponds to a network where two effects ("P[subscript i]") diverge from a common cause. Very different predictions are made by fully explicit or initial mental models interpretations. These predictions were tested in two experiments, each of which yielded data most consistent with causal model theory, rather than with mental models.
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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