Chapter

Interactions Between Causal and Statistical Learning

David M. Sobel and Natasha Z. Kirkham

in Causal Learning

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780195176803
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199958511 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195176803.003.0010

Series: Oxford Series in Cognitive Development

Interactions Between Causal and Statistical Learning

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Infants and young children appear to have powerful statistical learning mechanisms that allow them to acquire predictive information about the environment. Children also appear to possess powerful mechanisms for causal learning, which allow them not only to predict their environment, but to explain, interpret, and intervene. This chapter examines the relation between children's causal learning and inferential abilities, and their ability to recognize statistical regularity. It proposes that while there is more to causal learning than just statistical mechanisms, statistical learning abilities — particularly abilities that infants appear to possess — might help to lay the foundation for a mechanism for causal learning. It describes how the literature on infants' statistical learning has informed what we know about children's causal learning abilities.

Keywords: causal learning; statistical learning; multimodal integration; children's causal inference

Chapter.  9648 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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