Memory and cognition vol:33 issue:6 pages:1047-1056
Previous studies on human causal learning (De Houwer & Beckers, 2003; De Houwer, Beckers, & Glautier, 2002) showed that secondary task difficulty (performing an easy vs. a difficult secondary task during the main causal learning task) and ceiling information (outcome occurs with a maximal vs. submaximal intensity) had an influence on forward blocking (i.e., lower causal ratings for cue T when AT+ trials are preceded by A+ trials than when no A+ trials are presented). We extended these studies by also examining self-reports of participants about the reasons behind their causal ratings. Blocking was found only for participants who reported an appropriate blocking inference. Furthermore, secondary task difficulty and ceding information influenced the number of participants who reported an appropriate blocking inference. These findings point to a major impact of inferential reasoning in human causal learning.