Leitung: Prof. Dr. Michael Waldmann, Dr. Ralf Mayrhofer
Institution: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Causal cognitions lie at the heart of our rationality and underlie both scientific and everyday reasoning. Causal knowledge allows us to predict future events or diagnose the causes of observed facts. We plan actions and solve problems using knowledge about cause-effect relations. Whereas cognitive psychology has for a long time neglected this topic, causality and causal reasoning has, due to its central place in theories of theoretical rationality, remained one of the central themes of philosophy throughout its history. Currently in both psychology and philosophy two important frameworks of causal reasoning compete. Whereas dependency theories (e.g., causal Bayes nets) focus on causally motivated statistical or counterfactual dependencies between events, dispositional theories (e.g., force dynamics) model causation as arising from the interaction between causal participants endowed with intrinsic causal dispositions. By combining computational modeling with experimental studies we suggest that an integrated approach combining insights from both dependency and dispositional theories will prove superior for modeling everyday causal reasoning. As a result, we showed, for instance, how dispositional intuitions about agency guide the formation and parameterization of causal models as well as how dependency knowledge influences dispositional representations and, henceforth, the semantic parsing of causal scenarios.

Projektrelevante Veröffentlichungen
Mayrhofer, R., & Waldmann, M. R. (2015). Agents and causes: Dispositional intuitions as a guide to causal structure. Cognitive Science, 39, 65-95.
Meder, B., Mayrhofer, R., & Waldmann, M. R. (2014). Structure induction in diagnostic causal reasoning. Psychological Review, 121, 277-301.
Mayrhofer, R., & Waldmann, M. R. (2013). Agency intuitions in physical interactions. In: Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 996-1001).
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