Cognitive Principles Central To Causality Understanding

Abstract

Many studies in the psychological literature focus on the distinctive features of physical and psychological causality understanding. Our aim is a preliminary study from a different perspective, looking for similarities in the two domains. The results of Experiment 1 (38 adults participants) confirm our prediction: some features of the perceptual stimulus affect causality understanding in both the physical and the psychological domain. Also, the results of Experiment 2 (16 autistic children and 16 controls) confirm a clinical prediction deriving from our assumption. Autistic individuals, who are notoriously impaired in understanding psychological causality, turn out to be impaired also in understanding physical causality.


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