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What makes us believe a conditional? The roles of covariation and causality


Oberauer, Klaus; Weidenfeld, Andrea; Fischer, Katrin (2007). What makes us believe a conditional? The roles of covariation and causality. Thinking & Reasoning, 13(4):340-369.

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the roles of covariation and of causality in people's readiness to believe a conditional. The experiments used a probabilistic truth-table task (Oberauer Wilhelm, 2003) in which people estimated the probability of a conditional given information about the frequency distribution of truth-table cases. For one group of people, belief in the conditional was determined by the conditional probability of the consequent, given the antecedent, whereas for another group it depended on the probability of the conjunction of antecedent and consequent. There was little evidence that covariation, expressed as the probabilistic contrast or as the pCI rule (White, 2003), influences belief in the conditional. The explicit presence of a causal link between antecedent and consequent in a context story had a weak positive effect on belief in a conditional when the frequency distribution of relevant cases was held constant.

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the roles of covariation and of causality in people's readiness to believe a conditional. The experiments used a probabilistic truth-table task (Oberauer Wilhelm, 2003) in which people estimated the probability of a conditional given information about the frequency distribution of truth-table cases. For one group of people, belief in the conditional was determined by the conditional probability of the consequent, given the antecedent, whereas for another group it depended on the probability of the conjunction of antecedent and consequent. There was little evidence that covariation, expressed as the probabilistic contrast or as the pCI rule (White, 2003), influences belief in the conditional. The explicit presence of a causal link between antecedent and consequent in a context story had a weak positive effect on belief in a conditional when the frequency distribution of relevant cases was held constant.

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18 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:07 Jul 2014 14:22
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:57
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1354-6783
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13546780601035794

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