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  1. Anna Waismeyer
  2. http://ilabs.washington.edu/postdoctoral-fellows/bio/i-labs-anna-waismeyer-phd
  3. Dr.
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences UW, University of Washington
  1. Andrew Meltzoff
  2. http://ilabs.washington.edu/institute-faculty/bio/i-labs-andrew-n-meltzoff-phd
  3. Dr.
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Washington, Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences UW

Young Children's Causal Learning from Probabilistic Social and Physical Displays

NSF Awards: 1251702

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Our work examines the developmental roots of probabilistic causal reasoning, which is a foundational building block of human cognition. We examine the question of how young children learn about cause and effect in an uncertain and variable world. Our studies present children with causal displays involving physical objects during which the objects work some, but not all of the time. Children are then given a chance to act on the objects to achieve a desirable outcome based on what they observed. We find that even young children are able to learn about cause and effect from observing the imperfect actions of other people. This kind of causal learning helps to explain children’s rapid cultural learning in the messy real world environment.

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