Temporal delays can facilitate causal attribution: Towards a general timeframe bias in causal induction

Thinking and Reasoning 12 (4):353 – 378 (2006)
Two variables are usually recognised as determinants of human causal learning: the contingency between a candidate cause and effect, and the temporal and/or spatial contiguity between them. A common finding is that reductions in temporal contiguity produce concomitant decrements in causal judgement. This finding had previously (Shanks & Dickinson, 1987) been interpreted as evidence that causal induction is based on associative learning processes. Buehner and May (2002, 2003, 2004) have challenged this notion by demonstrating that the impact of temporal delay depends on expectations about the timeframe between cause and effect. A corollary of this knowledge-mediation account is that in certain situations longer delays could facilitate, while shorter delays should impair, causal learning. Here we present two experiments involving a physical apparatus that demonstrate a detrimental effect of contiguity under certain conditions. In contrast to all previous studies, delays universally promoted causal learning. This evidence is clearly at variance with the notion of a bottom-up contiguity bias in causal induction. A new, more general timeframe bias is discussed.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

4 ( #424,619 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #369,877 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.