Are Biases When Making Causal Interventions Related to Biases in Belief Updating?

Abstract

People often make decisions with the goal of gaining information which can help reduce their uncertainty. However, recent work has suggested that people sometimes do not select the most diagnostic information queries available to them. A critical aspect of information search decisions is evaluating how obtaining a piece of information will alter a learner’s beliefs (e.g., a piece of information that is redundant with what is already known is useless). This suggests a close relationship between information seeking decisions on one hand, and be- lief updating on the other. This paper explores the deeper re- lationship between these two constructs in a causal interven- tion learning task. We find that patterns in belief updating bi- ases are predictive of decision making patterns in tasks where people must make interventions learn about the structure of a causal system.


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