People generally perceive a stronger link between smoking and cancer than between cancer and smoking. Generally, prior research on asymmetrical causal reasoning has not distinguished predictive (searching for effects) and diagnostic reasoning (searching for causes) from the order in which causes and effects are presented. Across 6 studies (overall N = 627), we show that order and reasoning have an additive influence on the causality perception: causes, spatially or temporally presented before the effect, strengthen the causality attribution associated to predictive (vs. diagnostic) frames. Moreover, we show that order and reasoning frame are bi-directionally related, as the cause-first order triggers predictive reasoning and vice versa, and people mentally maintain the cause-first order when envisaging a causal relation. Besides its methodological contribution to the causal reasoning literature, this research demonstrates the powerful role of word order in causal reasoning. Implications for the role of word order in communication and risk prevention are discussed.

The distinct contributions of cause–effect order and reasoning type in judgments of causality

Bettinsoli M. L.
;
Suitner C.;Maass A.
2020

Abstract

People generally perceive a stronger link between smoking and cancer than between cancer and smoking. Generally, prior research on asymmetrical causal reasoning has not distinguished predictive (searching for effects) and diagnostic reasoning (searching for causes) from the order in which causes and effects are presented. Across 6 studies (overall N = 627), we show that order and reasoning have an additive influence on the causality perception: causes, spatially or temporally presented before the effect, strengthen the causality attribution associated to predictive (vs. diagnostic) frames. Moreover, we show that order and reasoning frame are bi-directionally related, as the cause-first order triggers predictive reasoning and vice versa, and people mentally maintain the cause-first order when envisaging a causal relation. Besides its methodological contribution to the causal reasoning literature, this research demonstrates the powerful role of word order in causal reasoning. Implications for the role of word order in communication and risk prevention are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3363726
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