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Title: Is everyday causation deterministic or probabilistic?
Authors: Frosch, Caren A.
Johnson-Laird, P. N.
First Published: 19-Apr-2011
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Acta Psychologica, 137 (2011) 280–291
Abstract: One view of causation is deterministic: A causes B means that whenever A occurs, B occurs. An alternative view is that causation is probabilistic: the assertion means that given A, the probability of B is greater than some criterion, such as the probability of B given not-A. Evidence about the induction of causal relations cannot readily decide between these alternative accounts, and so we examined how people refute causal assertions. In four experiments most participants judged that a single counterexample of A and not-B refuted assertions of the form, A causes B. And, as a deterministic theory based on mental models predicted, participants were more likely to request multiple refutations for assertions of the form, A enables B. Similarly, refutations of the form not-A and B were more frequent for enabling than causal assertions. Causation in daily life seems to be a deterministic concept.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2011.01.015
ISSN: 0001-6918
eISSN: 1873-6297
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: © 2011. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Description: PsychINFO code: 2340 Cognitive Processes
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Psychology

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