Normality and actual causal strength

Cognition 161:80-93 (2017)

Authors
Thomas Icard
Stanford University
Joshua Knobe
Yale University
Abstract
Existing research suggests that people's judgments of actual causation can be influenced by the degree to which they regard certain events as normal. We develop an explanation for this phenomenon that draws on standard tools from the literature on graphical causal models and, in particular, on the idea of probabilistic sampling. Using these tools, we propose a new measure of actual causal strength. This measure accurately captures three effects of normality on causal judgment that have been observed in existing studies. More importantly, the measure predicts a new effect ("abnormal deflation"). Two studies show that people's judgments do, in fact, show this new effect. Taken together, the patterns of people's causal judgments thereby provide support for the proposed explanation.
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DOI 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.01.010
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References found in this work BETA

Causality.Judea Pearl - 2009 - Cambridge University Press.
Causation as Influence.David K. Lewis - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):182-197.
Causation, Prediction, and Search.Peter Spirtes, Clark Glymour & Richard Scheines - 1996 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):113-123.
Making Things Happen. A Theory of Causal Explanation.James Woodward - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):233-249.
Person as Scientist, Person as Moralist.Joshua Knobe - 2010 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (4):315.

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Citations of this work BETA

On the Instrumental Value of Hypothetical and Counterfactual Thought.Thomas Icard, Fiery Cushman & Joshua Knobe - 2018 - Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.
Foundations of a Probabilistic Theory of Causal Strength.Jan Sprenger - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (3):371-398.

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