Explaining Influences Children’s Reliance on Evidence and Prior Knowledge in Causal Induction

Caren M. Walker, Joseph Jay Williams, Tania Lombrozo, Alison Gopnik

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

In two studies, we examine how prompting 5- and 6-year-olds to explain observed outcomes influences causal learning. In Study 1, children were presented with data consistent with two causal regularities. Explainers outperformed controls in generalizing the regularity that accounted for more observations. In Study 2, this regularity was pitted against an alternative that accounted for fewer observations but was consistent with prior knowledge. Explainers were less likely than controls to generalize the regularity that accounted for more observations. These findings suggest that explaining drives children to favor causal regularities that they expect to generalize, where current observations and prior knowledge both provide cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBuilding Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World - Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2012
EditorsNaomi Miyake, David Peebles, Richard P. Cooper
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages1114-1119
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780976831884
StatePublished - 2012
Event34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Building Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World, CogSci 2012 - Sapporo, Japan
Duration: Aug 1 2012Aug 4 2012

Publication series

NameBuilding Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World - Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2012

Conference

Conference34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Building Bridges Across Cognitive Sciences Around the World, CogSci 2012
Country/TerritoryJapan
CitySapporo
Period8/1/128/4/12

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • abduction
  • causal reasoning
  • cognitive development
  • Explanation
  • generalization
  • prior knowledge

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