UC Merced Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society Title Do Preschoolers Understand Causality? A Critical Look Publication Date Do Preschoolers Understand Causality? A Critical Look

Heidi Kloos, Valdimir Sloutsky, Heidi Kloos, Vladimir Sloutsky
2005 Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society   unpublished
While developmental research commonly claims that children have causal understanding, the extent to which such understanding is present is unclear. The current research is a step towards a more conservative look at children's understanding of causality. We test whether preschoolers appreciate the difference between causes and effects, a finding that is commonly taken to show causal understanding in adults. A two-phase blocking paradigm was used in which the causal status of the cues was
more » ... he cues was manipulated to be either potential causes (predictive reasoning) or potential effects (diagnostic reasoning). Results of two experiments show a significant difference between preschool children and adults in that only adults but not children exhibit evidence for differentiation between causes and effects. These results cast doubt on the idea that understanding of causality appears early in development.
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