Chapter

Pseudocontingencies—A key paradigm for understanding adaptive cognition

Klaus Fiedler

in The Probabilistic Mind:

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216093
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191695971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216093.003.0008
Pseudocontingencies—A key paradigm for understanding adaptive cognition

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This chapter focuses on the complexity and subtlety of inferences from data, and how the cognitive system does not always negotiate these subtleties consistently. It observes that many important areas of cognitive and social psychology focus on problems in which different levels of analysis can yield different results. The important concept of pseudocontingency is described as an illusory relationship between variables, which is induced by connections with a third variable (a phenomenon closely related to Simpson's Paradox, Simpson, 1951). The concept of pseudocontingency is shown to play a crucial role in explaining a wide range of classical psychological phenomena, especially in social cognition.

Keywords: adaptive cognition; inferences; data; cognitive system; pseudocontingency; social cognition

Chapter.  10389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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