Causal Systems Categories: Differences in Novice and Expert Categorization of Causal Phenomena

Cognitive Science 36 (5):919-932 (2012)
We investigated the understanding of causal systems categories—categories defined by common causal structure rather than by common domain content—among college students. We asked students who were either novices or experts in the physical sciences to sort descriptions of real-world phenomena that varied in their causal structure (e.g., negative feedback vs. causal chain) and in their content domain (e.g., economics vs. biology). Our hypothesis was that there would be a shift from domain-based sorting to causal sorting with increasing expertise in the relevant domains. This prediction was borne out: The novice groups sorted primarily by domain and the expert group sorted by causal category. These results suggest that science training facilitates insight about causal structures
Keywords Relational categories  Categorization  Expertise  Causal reasoning
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2012.01253.x
 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: 15,974
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

View all 15 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Douglas Ehring (1986). Causal Processes and Causal Interactions. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1986:24 - 32.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

10 ( #228,317 of 1,725,834 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #166,949 of 1,725,834 )

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.