Physical, Psychological, and Emotional Causality
2019-02-28T19:43:29Z (GMT) by
Previous studies have suggested that adults and infants learn about causal relationships through Bayesian structure learning rather than through associative learning(e.g., Griffiths, Sobel, Tenenbaum, & Gopnik, 2011; Sobel, Tenenbaum, & Gopnik, 2004). This view ostensibly garners support from research that has used a blicket detector, which is a machine that lights up and plays music when certain objects are placed on it (e.g., Sobel et al., 2004; Sobel & Kirkham, 2006). Although a large database exists on physical causal inference, there is a dearth of causality research in other domains, such as psychological and emotional causality, particularly among adult populations. Because little research on causal inference has been conducted with adults in a blicket-detector-like context, this study investigated whether adults reason about causal events through Bayesian inference or associative learning and whether adults are capable of making physical, psychological, and emotional causal inference in a blicket detector paradigm. The results supported the hypothesis that adults are able to make physical, psychological, and emotional causal inference but failed to support the hypothesis that adults use associative learning to reason about causal relationships and showed that adults use Bayesian structure learning.