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date: 15 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 4 describes the inferential reasoning theory of causal learning and discusses how thinking about this theory has evolved in at least two important ways. First, the authors argue that it is useful to decouple the debate about different possible types of mental representations involved in causal learning (e.g., propositional or associative) from the debate about processes involved therein (e.g., inferential reasoning or attention). Second, at the process level inferential reasoning is embedded within a broad array of mental processes that are all required to provide a full mechanistic account of causal learning. Based on those insights, the authors evaluate five arguments that are often raised against inferential reasoning theory. They conclude that causal learning is best understood as involving the formation and retrieval of propositional representations, both of which depend on multiple cognitive processes (i.e., the multi-process propositional account).

Keywords: Causal, learning, inferential reasoning, association, proposition

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