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Causal powers and preventers: An explanatory account of cue interaction effects in human causal judgement

White, Peter Anthony 2009. Causal powers and preventers: An explanatory account of cue interaction effects in human causal judgement. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 21 (8) , pp. 1226-1274. 10.1080/09541440802539531

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According to the causal powers theory, all causal relations are understood in terms of causal powers of one thing producing an effect by acting on liability of another thing. Powers can vary in strength, and their operation also depends on the presence of preventers. When an effect occurs, there is a need to account for the occurrence by assigning sufficient strength to produce it to its possible causes. Contingency information is used to estimate strengths of powers and preventers and the extent to which they account for occurrences and nonoccurrences of the outcome. People make causal judgements from contingency information by processes of inference that interpret evidence in terms of this fundamental understanding. From this account it is possible to derive a computational model based on a common set of principles that involve estimating strengths, using these estimates to interpret ambiguous information, and integrating the resultant evidence in a weighted averaging model. It is shown that the model predicts cue interaction effects in human causal judgement, including forward and backward blocking, second and third order backward blocking, forward and backward conditioned inhibition, recovery from overshadowing, superlearning, and backward superlearning.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Causal powers theory, Human causal judgement, Contingency information, Cue interaction, Blocking
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0954-1446
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:02

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