The effect of additivity pretraining on blocking has been taken as evidence for a reasoning account of human and animal causal learning. If inferential reasoning underpins this effect, then developmental differences in the magnitude of this effect in children would be expected. Experiment 1 examined cue competition effects in children’s (4- to 5-year-olds and 6- to 7-year-olds) causal learning using a new paradigm analogous to the food allergy task used in studies of human adult causal learning. Blocking was stronger in the older than the younger children, and additivity pretraining only affected blocking in the older group. Unovershadowing was not affected by age or by pretraining. In experiment 2, levels of blocking were found to be correlated with the ability to answer questions that required children to reason about additivity. Our results support an inferential reasoning explanation of cue competition effects.
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - 13 Feb 2012|