Weighting of contingency information in causal judgment – Evidence of hypothesis dependence and use of a positive-test Strategy

Évaluation des données de contingence dans l’analyse de causalité – dépendance à l’égard des hypothèses et emploi d’une série de tests positifs

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Authors
  1. Mandel, D.R.
  2. Vartanian, O.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
Abstract
Contingency is an important cue to causation. Research shows that people unequally weight the cells of a 2 × 2 contingency table as follows: cause-present/effect-present (A) > cause-present/effect-absent (B) > cause-absent/effect-present (C) > cause-absent/effect-absent (D). Although some models of causal judgment can accommodate that fact, most of them assume that the weighting of information is invariant as a function of whether one is assessing a hypothesized generative versus preventive relationship. An experiment was conducted that tested the hypothesis-independence assumption against the predictions of a novel weighted-positive-test-strategy account, which predicts hypothesis dependence in cell weighting. Supporting that account, judgments of hypothesized generative causes showed the standard A > B > C > D inequality, but judgments of hypothesized preventive causes showed the predicted B > A > D > C inequality. The findings reveal that cell weighting in causal judgment is both unequal and hypothesis dependent.

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Keywords
Causal judgment;contingency;hypothesis dependence;reasoning;Causation;Prevention;Contingency information;Hypothesis testing;Positive-test strategy
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-SL-2009-010 — Scientific Literature
Date of publication
09 Nov 2009
Number of Pages
22
DSTKIM No
CA033356
CANDIS No
532702
Format(s):
Electronic Document(PDF)

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