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In H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock, & P. Menzies (Eds.), Oxford handbook of causation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 21. The Psychology of Causal Perception and Reasoning
 

Summary: In H. Beebee, C. Hitchcock, & P. Menzies (Eds.), Oxford handbook of causation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
1
21. The Psychology of Causal Perception and Reasoning
David Danks
1. Introduction
Causal beliefs and reasoning are deeply embedded in many parts of our cognition
(Sloman 2005). We are clearly "causal cognizers," as we easily and automatically (try to) learn
the causal structure of the world, use causal knowledge to make decisions and predictions,
generate explanations using our beliefs about the causal structure of the world, and use causal
knowledge in many other ways. Because causal cognition is so ubiquitous, psychological
research on it is itself an enormous topic, and literally hundreds of people have devoted entire
careers to the study of it. As such, this chapter will necessarily be woefully incomplete. Each of
the sections below (except perhaps section 4) could easily be expanded to an entire book, and
this chapter must (by necessity) leave unaddressed some areas of psychological research that are
plausibly relevant to causal cognition.i
Causal cognition can be divided into two rough categories: causal learning (sections 2-4)
and causal reasoning (section 5). The former encompasses the processes by which we learn about
causal relations in the world at both the type and token levels; the latter refers to the ways in
which we use those causal beliefs to make further inferences, decisions, predictions, and so on.
The two types of causal cognition are clearly connected to one another, but psychological

  

Source: Andrews, Peter B. - Department of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University

 

Collections: Mathematics