Michael Waldmann, York Hagmayer and Aaron Blaisdell

Beyond the Information Given: Causal Models in Learning and Reasoning

Current Directions in Psychological Science

The philosopher David Hume's conclusion that causal induction is solely based on observed associations still presents a puzzle to psychology. If we only acquired knowledge about statistical covariations between observed events without accessing deeper information about causality, we would be unable to understand the differences between causal and spurious relations, between prediction and diagnosis, and between observational and interventional inferences. All these distinctions require a deep understanding of causality that goes beyond the information given. We report a number of recent studies that demonstrate that people and rats do not stick to the superficial level of event covariations but reason and learn on the basis of deeper causal representations. Causal-model theory provides a unified account of this remarkable competence. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Accession Number: 23415162; Source Information: Dec2006, Vol. 15 Issue 6, p307; Subject Term: CAUSAL models; Subject Term: CAUSATION (Philosophy) – Psychological aspects; Subject Term: LEARNING – Study & teaching; Subject Term: REASONING (Psychology) – Study & teaching; Subject Term: PSYCHOLOGY education; Subject Term: HUME, David, 1711-1776; Subject Term: ANALYSIS of covariance; Subject Term: ; Number of Pages: 5p; ; Illustrations: 2 Diagrams; ; Document Type: Article;