Beyond Covariation

David A. Lagnado, Michael R. Waldmann, York Hagmaye and Steven A. Sloman

in Causal Learning

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780195176803
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199958511 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Series in Cognitive Development

Beyond Covariation

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Causal induction has two components: learning about the structure of causal models and learning about causal strength and other quantitative parameters. This chapter argues for several interconnected theses. First, people represent causal knowledge qualitatively, in terms of causal structure; quantitative knowledge is derivative. Second, people use a variety of cues to infer causal structure aside from statistical data (e.g. temporal order, intervention, coherence with prior knowledge). Third, once a structural model is hypothesized, subsequent statistical data are used to confirm, refute, or elaborate the model. Fourth, people are limited in the number and complexity of causal models that they can hold in mind to test, but they can separately learn and then integrate simple models, and revise models by adding and removing single links. Finally, current computational models of learning need further development before they can be applied to human learning.

Keywords: causal models; causal learning; covariation; intervention; temporal order; causal structure

Chapter.  12987 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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