If you are experiencing problems downloading PDF or HTML fulltext, our helpdesk recommend clearing your browser cache and trying again. If you need help in clearing your cache, please click here . Still need help? Email help@ingentaconnect.com

Normative and descriptive accounts of the influence of power and contingency on causal judgement

The full text article is temporarily unavailable.

We apologise for the inconvenience. Please try again later.


The power PC theory (Cheng, 1997) is a normative account of causal inference, which predicts that causal judgements are based on the power p of a potential cause, where p is the cause-effect contingency normalized by the base rate of the effect. In three experiments we demonstrate that both cause-effect contingency and effect base-rate independently affect estimates in causal learning tasks. In Experiment 1, causal strength judgements were directly related to power p in a task in which the effect base-rate was manipulated across two positive and two negative contingency conditions. In Experiments 2 and 3 contingency manipulations affected causal estimates in several situations in which power p was held constant, contrary to the power PC theory's predictions. This latter effect cannot be explained by participants' conflation of reliability and causal strength, as Experiment 3 demonstrated independence of causal judgements and confidence. From a descriptive point of view, the data are compatible with Pearce's (1987) model, as well as with several other judgement rules, but not with the Rescorla-Wagner (Rescorla & Wagner, 1972) or power PC models.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724980244000738

Affiliations: 1: Universidad de Granada, Spain 2: University College London, UK

Publication date: January 1, 2003

Related content

Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more