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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Causality is a core concept of human cognition, but the extent to which cultural factors constrain, trigger, or shape the way in which humans think about causal relationships has barely been explored. This chapter summarizes empirical findings on the potential for cultural variability in the content of causal cognition, in the way this content is processed, and in the context in which all this occurs. This review reveals cultural variability in causal cognition along each of these dimensions and across physical, biological, and psychological explanations. Specifically, culture helps defining the settings in which causal cognition emerges, the manner in which potential factors are pondered, and the choices for highlighting some causes over others or for expressing them in distinct ways. Future tasks include the need to re-conceptualize ‘culture’ and to overcome blind spots in research strategies such as those linked to disciplinary boundaries and the ‘home-field disadvantages’ in cross-cultural comparisons.

Keywords: causal cognition, culture, language, content, processing, context

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