Connecting Causal Events: Learning Causal Structures Through Repeated Interventions Over Time


How do we learn causal structures? All current approaches use scenarios in which trials are temporally independent; however, people often learn about scenarios unfolding over time. In such cases, people may assume that other variables don’t change at the same instant as an intervention. In Experiment 1, participants were much more successful at learning causal structures when this assumption was upheld than violated. In Experiment 2, participants were less influenced by such temporal information when they believed the trials to be temporally independent, but still used the temporal strategy to some extent. People seem to be inclined to learn causal structures by connecting events over time.

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