The importance of decision making in causal learning from interventions.
Recent research has focused on how interventions benefit causal learning. This research suggests that the main benefit of interventions is in the temporal and conditional probability information that interventions provide a learner. But when one generates interventions, one must also decide what interventions to generate. In three experiments, we investigated the importance of these decision demands to causal learning. Experiment 1 demonstrated that learners were better at learning causal models when they observed intervention data that they had generated, as opposed to observing data generated by another learner. Experiment 2 demonstrated the same effect between self-generated interventions and interventions learners were forced to make. Experiment 3 demonstrated that when learners observed a sequence of interventions such that the decision-making process that generated those interventions was more readily available, learning was less impaired. These data suggest that decision making may be an important part of causal learning from interventions.
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