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Causal ModelsHow People Think about the World and Its Alternatives$
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Steven Sloman

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195183115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195183115.001.0001

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The Psychology of Judgment: Causality Is Pervasive

The Psychology of Judgment: Causality Is Pervasive

(p.101) 8 The Psychology of Judgment: Causality Is Pervasive
Causal Models

Steven Sloman

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the role of causal models in judgment. It is argued that causal modeling plays a central role in the process of judgment when the object of judgment can be construed as a causal effect. Such a construal is almost always appropriate in the legal domain where both crimes and accidents are effects of individual actions. It is also appropriate in scientific domains. Scientists are also in the business of building causal models, in their case to understand how the world works in general rather than to understand the circumstances of a specific event. Causal models are relevant to judgment in any domain in which physical, social, or abstract events cause other events. Causal models may well be the primary determinant of what is considered relevant when reasoning, when making judgments and predictions, and when taking action within such domains.

Keywords:   causal models, psychological theory, reasoning, causal modeling, causal effect

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