Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

The Accuracy of Causal Learning over 24 Days

Willett, Ciara L. (2020) The Accuracy of Causal Learning over 24 Days. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

This is the latest version of this item.

Download (596kB) | Preview


Humans often rely on past experiences stored in long-term memory to predict the outcome of an event. In traditional lab-based experiments (e.g., causal learning, probability learning, etc.), these observations are compressed into a successive series of learning trials. The rapid nature of this paradigm means that completing the task relies on working memory. In contrast, real-world events are typically spread out over longer periods of time, and therefore long-term memory must be used. We conducted a 24-day smartphone study to assess how well people can learn causal relationships in extended timeframes. Surprisingly, we found few differences in causal learning when subjects observed events in a traditional rapid series of 24 trials as opposed to one trial per day for 24 days. Specifically, subjects were able to detect causality for generative and preventive datasets and also exhibited illusory correlations in both the short-term and long-term designs. We discuss theoretical implications of this work.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Willett, Ciara L.clw137@pitt.educlw1370000-0002-0620-1749
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRottman,
Committee MemberSchunn,
Committee MemberCoutanche,
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 19 June 2019
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 4 August 2020
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 51
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: causal learning; probability learning; illusory correlation; long-term memory; smartphone
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 16:04
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2021 05:15

Available Versions of this Item

  • The Accuracy of Causal Learning over 24 Days. (deposited 16 Sep 2020 16:04) [Currently Displayed]


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item