|Title||Faulty Towers: A counterfactual simulation model of physical support|
|Publication Type||Conference Proceedings|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||Gerstenberg, T, Zhou, L, Smith, KA, Tenenbaum, JB|
|Conference Name||Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society|
|Keywords||causality, counterfactual, intuitive physics, mental simulation, support|
In this paper we extend the counterfactual simulation model (CSM) – originally developed to capture causal judgments about dynamic events (Gerstenberg, Goodman, Lagnado, & Tenenbaum, 2014) – to explain judgments of physical support. The CSM predicts that people judge physical support by men- tally simulating what would happen if the object of interest were removed. Two experiments test the model by asking par- ticipants to evaluate the extent to which one brick in a tower is responsible for the rest of the bricks staying on the table. The results of both experiments show a very close correspon- dence between counterfactual simulations and responsibility judgments. We compare three versions of the CSM which dif- fer in how they model people’s uncertainty about what would have happened. Participants’ selections of which bricks would fall are best explained by assuming that counterfactual inter- ventions only affect some aspects while leaving the rest of the scene unchanged.
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