Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Competence and performance in causal learning

Authors
  • Waldmann, Michael R.1
  • Walker, Jessica M.2
  • 1 University of Göttingen, Department of Psychology, Gosslerstr. 14, Göttingen, 37073, Germany , Göttingen
  • 2 University of California, Los Angeles, California , Los Angeles
Type
Published Article
Journal
Learning & Behavior
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 01, 2005
Volume
33
Issue
2
Pages
211–229
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/BF03196064
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The dominant theoretical approach to causal learning postulates the acquisition of associative weights between cues and outcomes. This reduction of causal induction to associative learning implies that learners are insensitive to important characteristics of causality, such as the inherent directionality between causes and effects. An ongoing debate centers on the question of whether causal learning is sensitive to causal directionality (as is postulated by causal-model theory) or whether it neglects this important feature of the physical world (as implied by associationist theories). Three experiments using different cue competition paradigms are reported that demonstrate the competence of human learners to differentiate between predictive and diagnostic learning. However, the experiments also show that this competence displays itself best in learning situations with few processing demands and with convincingly conveyed causal structures. The study provides evidence for the necessity to distinguish between competence and performance in causal learning.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times