Finding the Cause: Examining the Role of Qualitative Causal Inference through Categorical Judgments


Previous work showed that people‟s causal judgments are modeled better as estimates of the probability that a causal relationship exists (a qualitative inference) than as estimates of the strength of that relationship (a quantitative inference). Here, using a novel task, we present experimental evidence in support of the importance of qualitative causal inference. Our findings cannot be explained through the use of parameter estimation and related quantitative inference. These findings suggest the role of qualitative inference in causal reasoning has been understudied despite its unique role in cognition. Further, we suggest these findings open interesting questions about the role of qualitative inference in many domains.

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