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ERIC Number: EJ950367
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
Causal Structure Learning over Time: Observations and Interventions
Rottman, Benjamin M.; Keil, Frank C.
Cognitive Psychology, v64 n1-2 p93-125 Feb 2012
Seven studies examined how people learn causal relationships in scenarios when the variables are temporally dependent--the states of variables are stable over time. When people intervene on X, and Y subsequently changes state compared to before the intervention, people infer that X influences Y. This strategy allows people to learn causal structures quickly and reliably when variables are temporally stable (Experiments 1 and 2). People use this strategy even when the cover story suggests that the trials are independent (Experiment 3). When observing variables over time, people believe that when a cause changes state, its effects likely change state, but an effect may change state due to an exogenous influence in which case its observed cause may not change state at the same time. People used this strategy to learn the direction of causal relations and a wide variety of causal structures (Experiments 4-6). Finally, considering exogenous influences responsible for the observed changes facilitates learning causal directionality (Experiment 7). Temporal reasoning may be the norm rather than the exception for causal learning and may reflect the way most events are experienced naturalistically. (Contains 12 figures and 10 tables.)
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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