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The mental representation of causal conditional reasoning: mental models or causal models

Nilufa, A. and Chater, N. and Oaksford, Mike (2011) The mental representation of causal conditional reasoning: mental models or causal models. Cognition 119 (3), pp. 403-418. ISSN 0010-0277.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2011.02.005

Abstract

In this paper, two experiments are reported investigating the nature of the cognitive representations underlying causal conditional reasoning performance. The predictions of causal and logical interpretations of the conditional diverge sharply when inferences involving pairs of conditionals—such as if P1 then Q and if P2 then Q—are considered. From a causal perspective, the causal direction of these conditionals is critical: are the Pi causes of Q; or symptoms caused by Q. The rich variety of inference patterns can naturally be modelled by Bayesian networks. A pair of causal conditionals where Q is an effect corresponds to a “collider” structure where the two causes (Pi) converge on a common effect. In contrast, a pair of causal conditionals where Q is a cause corresponds to a network where two effects (Pi) diverge from a common cause. Very different predictions are made by fully explicit or initial mental models interpretations. These predictions were tested in two experiments, each of which yielded data most consistent with causal model theory, rather than with mental models.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Causal models, Bayesian Networks, conditional inference, mental models, discounting, augmenting
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Users 670 not found.
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2011 14:15
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:20
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3188

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