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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an introduction to how humans learn and reason about multiple causal relations connected together in a causal structure. The first half of the chapter focuses on how people learn causal structures. The main topics involve learning from observations versus interventions, learning temporal versus atemporal causal structures, and learning the parameters of a causal structure including individual cause-effect strengths and how multiple causes combine to produce an effect. The second half of the chapter focuses on how individuals reason about the causal structure, such as making predictions about one variable given knowledge about other variables, once the structure has been learned. Some of the most important topics involve reasoning about observations versus interventions, how well people reason compared to normative models, and whether causal structure beliefs bias reasoning. In both sections the author highlights open empirical and theoretical questions.

Keywords: causal structure, learning, reasoning, cause-effect, empirical, theoretical

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