Is past information useful for evaluating present covariation information? : Effect of irrelevant information on causal judgment


This study examined how information about the past affects the estimation of present covariation in causal judgment. For example, although lottery stands advertise that they sold the tickets of a big win last year, and buyers tend to buy tickets there, winning the prize this year has no actual connection with past win. However, information about the past has a psychological influence on people in causal judgment. In this experiment, participants observed this year's records of fictitious baseball players and estimated their contract money for the next season. Participants were assigned to either powerful-team or weak-team condition, and were told that their team had finished among the best three or the worst three for ten years. Weak-team group tended to significantly discount the contribution by the player concerned. The result implies that past information should be concerned with dealing the non-cause cases in which the target cause does not occur.

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