Steven Sloman and York Hagmayer

The causal psycho-logic of choice

Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Choices do not merely identify one option among a set of possibilities; choosing is an intervention, an action that changes the world. As a result, good decision making generally requires a model specifying how actions are causally related to outcomes. Interventions license different inferences than observations because an event whose state has been determined by intervention is not diagnostic of the normal causes of that event. We integrate these ideas into a causal framework for decision making based on causal Bayes nets theory, and suggest that deliberate decision making is based on simplified causal models and imaginary interventions. The framework is consistent with what we know so far about how people make decisions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Sponsor: National Science Foundation. Grant: 0518147. Recipients: No recipient indicated