The texture of causal construals: Domain-specific biases shape causal inferences from discourse, Memory and Cognition
We conducted five sets of experiments asking whether psychological and physical events are construed in broadly different manners concerning the underlying textures of their causes. In Experiments 1a–1d, we found a robust tendency to estimate fewer causes (but not effects) for psychological than for physical events; Experiment 2 showed a similar pattern of results when participants were asked to generate hypothetical causes and effects; Experiment 3 revealed a greater tendency to ascribe linear chains of causes (but not effects) to physical events; Experiment 4 showed that the expectation of linear chains was related to intuitions about deterministic processes; and Experiment 5 showed that simply framing a given ambiguous event in psychological versus physical terms is sufficient to induce changes in the patterns of causal inferences. Adults therefore consistently show a tendency to think about psychological and physical events as being embedded in different kinds of causal structures.
Brent Strickland, Ike Silver, Frank Keil
Strickland, Brent, Ike Silver, and Frank Keil. 2017. The texture of causal construals: Domain-specific biases shape causal inferences from discourse. Memory and Cognition.READ