Causal Reasoning in Rats

  title={Causal Reasoning in Rats},
  author={Aaron P. Blaisdell and Kosuke Sawa and Kenneth J Leising and Michael R. Waldmann},
  pages={1020 - 1022}
Empirical research with nonhuman primates appears to support the view that causal reasoning is a key cognitive faculty that divides humans from animals. The claim is that animals approximate causal learning using associative processes. The present results cast doubt on that conclusion. Rats made causal inferences in a basic task that taps into core features of causal reasoning without requiring complex physical knowledge. They derived predictions of the outcomes of interventions after passive… 

Predictive behavior and causal learning in animals and humans1

In this article, the major contribution of associative theories to predictive behavior and also theoretical advances in causal reasoning in animals as strong counter-evidence are reviewed.

Causal cognition in human and nonhuman animals: a comparative, critical review.

In this article, we review some of the most provocative experimental results to have emerged from comparative labs in the past few years, starting with research focusing on contingency learning and

Associative learning and animal cognition

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  • Psychology, Biology
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It is argued that embodying associative processes within specific processing architectures provides mechanisms that can mediate psychological rationality and illustrate such embodiment by discussing the relationship between practical reasoning and the associative-cybernetic model of goal-directed action.

The propositional nature of human associative learning

It is argued that this new conceptual framework allows many of the important recent advances in associative learning research to be retained, but recast in a model that provides a firmer foundation for both immediate application and future research.

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The authors replicated Experiments 1 and 2a of Blaisdell et al. (2006) and found reciprocal patterns of lever pressing and food well approach during the critical cues, which lend direct support for an interpretation in terms of response competition while providing evidence contrary to Bayes net theories.

Associative analyses of reasoning-like behaviour in rats

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Rats and infants as propositional reasoners: A plausible possibility?

The possibility of rats being capable of propositional reasoning is contemplated, but it is suggested that this is an unlikely and unsubstantiated possibility.

Beyond the Information Given

The philosopher David Hume's conclusion that causal induction is solely based on observed associations still presents a puzzle to psychology. If we only acquired knowledge about statistical

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This chapter is an introduction to the psychology of causal inference using a computational perspective, with the focus on causal discovery. It explains the nature of the problem of causal discovery

Rational Accounts of Animal Behaviour? Lessons from C. Lloyd Morgan's Canon

This work examines three examples in rats (causal-reasoning, sensitivity to the absence of stimuli, and the relationship between effort and reward) where higher ordermental processes might be invoked as explanations of the observed behaviour.



A theory of causal learning in children: causal maps and Bayes nets.

Experimental results suggest that 2- to 4-year-old children construct new causal maps and that their learning is consistent with the Bayes net formalism.

Mechanisms of theory formation in young children

Competition among causes but not effects in predictive and diagnostic learning.

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  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
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Four experiments are presented that use asymmetries of cue competition to discriminate between the views that people are sensitive to causal directionality during learning and the view that learning primarily involves acquiring associations between cues and outcomes irrespective of their causal role.

Do We "do"?

A normative framework for modeling causal and counterfactual reasoning has been proposed by Spirtes, Glymour, and Scheines (1993; cf. Pearl, 2000). The framework takes as fundamental that reasoning

Time as content in Pavlovian conditioning

Causation, prediction, and search

The authors axiomatize the connection between causal structure and probabilistic independence, explore several varieties of causal indistinguishability, formulate a theory of manipulation, and develop asymptotically reliable procedures for searching over equivalence classes of causal models.

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Four tufted capuchin monkeys, successful in a tool task in which they used a stick to push a reward out of a tube, were tested in a similar task, with a tube with a hole and a small trap, indicating that they did not take into account the effects of their actions on the reward.

The Role of Learning in the Operation of Motivational Systems

The two incentive learning processes function in parallel to motivate instrumental behavior, with Pavlovian incentive learning reflecting the acquisition of motivational properties by conditioned stimuli through their association with appetitive and aversive reinforcers.

References and Notes

our experimentation could eventually be used to discredit our findings, should they happen not to agree with the original observations. It seems important that all experiments in the rapidly

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Subjects were able to select tools of an appropriate length to reach the reward even when the position of the reward and tools were not simultaneously visible, and were proficient at using tools in sequence to retrieve the reward.