Domino effects from causal contradictions

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Description: Inconsistencies call for reasoners to revise the information that yields them - but which information should they revise? A dominant view is that they should revise their beliefs in a minimal way. An alternative is that the primary task is to explain how the inconsistency arose. It implies that individuals are likely to violate minimalism in two ways: they should infer more information than is strictly necessary to establish consistency, and they should reject more information than is strictly necessary to establish consistency. Previous studies corroborate the former effect: reasoners use causal knowledge to build explanations that resolve inconsistencies. Here, we show that the latter effect is true too: as a consequence of their causal knowledge, reasoners reject more information than is strictly necessary to establish consistency. This hypothesis predicts domino effects: when a fact contradicts an element early in an inferred causal chain, reasoners should tend to reject each subsequent event in the chain too. Three studies corroborated domino effects and the causal knowledge hypothesis.


The code provided in this OSF project is also relevant for the conference paper: - Khemlani, S., & Johnson-Laird, P.N. (2015). Domino effects in causal contradictions. In R. Dale, C. Jennings, P. Maglio, T. Matlock, D. Noelle, A. Warlaumont, & J. Yoshimi (Eds.), Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.


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