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Domain Specificity and Developmental Change in Perceptual Causality

  • Start date: 07 February 2001
  • End date: 31 December 2002

Michotte originally proposed that humans can perceive cause-and-effect relations in minimal schematic motion events. This classic hypothesis was recently resurrected because of its importance for development perceptual causality could help children identify and analyse complex causal events despite lack of relevant knowledge. The present project extends our prior work on the topic: We have already found that 8-month-olds are sensitive to noncontact causality and that children from at least age 3 link this to the social domain. Others established that even 6-month-olds are sensitive to contact causality, and we showed that children from age 3 link this to the mechanical domain. One aim of the present project is to assess with a habituation procedure whether 6-months-olds are also already sensitive to noncontact causality. This provides information on how perceptual causality relates to the emerging distinction between the physical and social world. In addition, the project will follow up on our previous finding that preschoolers often overgeneralise perceptual causality to events treated as noncausal by infants and adults. Finally, the project will evaluate whether adult observers distinguish between social and mechanical causality on the basis of spatial or temporal features or both; this has been confounded in previous research

  • Outputs (8)