Some effects of negative delays upon the perception of causal relatedness

Elliott, Mark
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Elliott, M. A., & Shenvi, G. (2004). Some effects of negative delays upon the perception of causal relatedness. in A. M. Oliveira, M. Teixeira, G. F. Borges & M. J. Ferro. (Eds.). Fechner Day 2004. Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the International Society of Psychophysics. Coimbra, Portugal. The International Society for Psychophysics, (pp. 356-361).
We examined the effects of negative delays on the perception of causality using a variation of the paradigm originated by Michotte (1954) and as an extension to similar work conducted by Kanizsa and Vicario (1968). In our design, on some trials a second Object B started to move prior to collision with the launching Object A Given that contact A B was made we expected reports akin to ¿A launched B¿ following some negative delays. However, rather than obtaining unequivocal measures related to launching, with variations in reportage over the range of negative delays, Experiment 1 revealed a tendency for subjects to adjust their pattern of responses following positive delays as a function of their reportage following negative delays. In fact observers tended to equilibrate their pattern of causality and no causality responses such that the different proportions of responses were symmetrical across negative and positive delays. In Experiment 2, which introduced a further report alternative aiming to better describe causality reportage by means of metaphor, report equilibration was found to equilibrate across the different classes of causality reports and one alternative class of no causality report. The two experiments described here strongly suggest that causality reportage may be governed by a tendency for subjects to try to balance the number of reports they make such that each response alternative is equally represented.
The International Society for Psychophysics
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland