Acting as Intuitive Scientists: Contingency Judgments Are Made While Controlling for Alternative Potential Causes
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
In judging the efficacy of multiple causes of an effect, human performance has been found to deviate from the “normative”ΔP contingency rule However, in cases of multiple causes, that rule might not be normative, scientists and philosophers, for example, know that when judging a potential cause, one must control for all other potential causes. In an experiment in which they were shown trial-by-trial effects of two potential causes (which sometimes covaried), subjects used conditional rather than unconditional contingencies to rate the efficacy of the causes. A conditional contingency analysis may explain various “nonnormative” cue-integration effects (e.g., discounting) found in the literature and is relevant to how people unravel Simpson's paradox.