Selecting explanations from causal chains: Do statistical principles explain preferences for voluntary causes?

Hilton, D.J. and McClure, J. and Sutton, R.M. (2010) Selecting explanations from causal chains: Do statistical principles explain preferences for voluntary causes? European Journal of Social Psychology, 40 (3). pp. 383-400. ISSN 1099-0992. (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.623

Abstract

We investigate whether people prefer voluntary causes to physical causes in unfolding causal chains and whether statistical (covariation, sufficiency) principles can predict how people select explanations. Experiment 1 shows that while people tend to prefer a proximal (more recent) cause in chains of unfolding physical events, causality is traced through the proximal cause to an underlying distal (less recent) cause when that cause is a human action. Experiment 2 shows that causal preference is more strongly correlated with judgements of sufficiency and conditionalised sufficiency than with covariation or conditionalised covariation. In addition, sufficiency judgements are partial mediators of the effect of type of distal cause (voluntary or physical) on causal preference. The preference for voluntary causes to physical causes corroborates findings from social psychology, cognitive neuroscience and jurisprudence that emphasise the primacy of intentions in causal attribution processes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Robbie Sutton
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2010 13:34
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2011 09:12
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/26134 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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