PSYC 355 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Gie, Common Cause, Causal Structure

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1 Mar 2017
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LECTURE 6 (Week 7): CAUSALITY
1. Launching Events
2. Association and Causality
3. Inferring Causal Structure
4. Human Cognitive Development: Detecting Blickets
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1. LAUNCHING EVENTS
- Hume (1748): Motio i the seod illiad all is a uite distit eet fo the otio i the fist; o is thee
anything i the oe to suggest the sallest hit of the othe
o Causality is an illusion. The events themselves do not present causality the visual input we get is just
coincident motion
- Mihotte 9s: Yes, the peeptio is a illusio. But, its a peeption
of a causal interaction. And, it does take a particular type of
spatiotepoal patte to gie us this ausal ipessio.
o What is it about motion that makes us perceive motion?
o Yes, we are inferring causality, but only certain events give us this
perception
STUDIES WITH HUMAN INFANTS (Leslie & Keeble, 1987)
- Half of infants are habituated to direct launching, the other half habituated to delayed reaction
o Delayed reaction looks less causal
- Test: Used the same objects but reversed the role of the objects
o Only infants habituated to the direct launching looked longer
- Results: interpreted as the infants understood causality
- Get mixed results when testing pigeons
NATURAL CAUSALITY VS. ARBITRARY CAUSALITY
- Instead of focusing on the natural causality of launching events, most research has focused on arbitrary causality
- Arbitrary causality- he hat geeates the ausal iteatio ist oious- like when pressing a button
auses food to appea
2. ASSOCIATION AND CAUSALITY
- Operant Conditioning: Process by which a change in behaviour occurs because
the behaviour produces some consequence
- Operant conditioning is arbitrary causality
- What associations are formed in operant conditionsing
- 3 fundamental elements: Stimulus (S), Response (R), Outcome (O)
EARLY IDEAS
- Thorndike & Hull: proposed animals formed S-R associations (e.g. the lights are
associated with the response of lever pressing)
o Assues aials ae autoata aet thikig aout ausal
relationships)- no understanding their behaviour may alter environment
- Tolman: proposed animals formed R-O associations- that the response (behaviour) was related to the outcome
o If you guide the rats long enough, it can become over time a S-R relationship because it becomes a habit
MODERN IDEAS
- (Likely R-O associations are being made, but researchers disagree in terms of the following)
- Dickinson and Wasserman: Causal learning is a by-product of associative learning. Associationist theory can
explain how information regarding causality is acquired
- Blaisdell and colleagues: Animals infer the causal structure of events, and if this is true, you cannot explain it
with the traditional tenets of associative theory
o Would not need to go through all of the steps- you could infer it
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