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Property transmission: an explanatory account of the role of similarity information in causal inference

White, Peter Anthony 2009. Property transmission: an explanatory account of the role of similarity information in causal inference. Psychological Bulletin 135 (5) , pp. 774-793. 10.1037/a0016970

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Many kinds of common and easily observed causal relations exhibit property transmission, which is a tendency for the causal object to impose its own properties on the effect object. It is proposed that property transmission becomes a general and readily available hypothesis used to make interpretations and judgments about causal questions under conditions of uncertainty, in which property transmission functions as a heuristic. The property transmission hypothesis explains why and when similarity information is used in causal inference. It can account for magical contagion beliefs, some cases of illusory correlation, the correspondence bias, overestimation of cross-situational consistency in behavior, nonregressive tendencies in prediction, the belief that acts of will are causes of behavior, and a range of other phenomena. People learn that property transmission is often moderated by other factors, but under conditions of uncertainty in which the operation of relevant other factors is unknown, it tends to exhibit a pervasive influence on thinking about causality.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: causal judgment; causal perception; similarity; illusory correlation; generative transmission
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0033-2909
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:59

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