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The extent to which primary visual cues such as motion or luminance are segregated in different cortical areas is a subject of controversy. To address this issue, we examined cortical activation in the human occipital lobe using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while subjects performed a fixed visual task, object recognition, using three(More)
The authors outline a cognitive and computational account of causal learning in children. They propose that children use specialized cognitive systems that allow them to recover an accurate "causal map" of the world: an abstract, coherent, learned representation of the causal relations among events. This kind of knowledge can be perspicuously understood in(More)
This study examines preschoolers' causal assumptions about spatial contiguity and how these assumptions interact with new evidence in the form of conditional probabilities. Preschoolers saw a toy that activated in the presence of certain objects. Children were shown evidence for the toy's activation rule in the form of patterns of probability: The toy was(More)
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(More)
We examine the interaction of two cues that children use to make judgments about cause-effect relations: probabilities and interventions. Children were shown a "detector" that lit up and played music when a block was placed on its surface. We varied the probabilistic effectiveness of the block, as well as whether the experimenter or the child was performing(More)
Psychological scientists use statistical information to determine the workings of human behavior. We argue that young children do so as well. Over the course of a few years, children progress from viewing human actions as intentional and goal directed to reasoning about the psychological causes underlying such actions. Here, we show that preschoolers and(More)
We used a new method to assess how people can infer unobserved causal structure from patterns of observed events. Participants were taught to draw causal graphs, and then shown a pattern of associations and interventions on a novel causal system. Given minimal training and no feedback, participants in Experiment 1 used causal graph notation to spontaneously(More)
Recent work has shown that young children can learn about preferences by observing the choices and emotional reactions of other people, but there is no unified account of how this learning occurs. We show that a rational model, built on ideas from economics and computer science, explains the behavior of children in several experiments, and offers new(More)
This study asked whether children's tendency to imitate selectively (ignore causally unnecessary actions) versus faithfully (overimitate causally unnecessary actions) varies across ages and social contexts. In the first experiment, 2-year-olds and 4-year-olds were randomly assigned to play 1 of 3 prior games with a demonstrator: a mimicry game, an(More)