Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/60404
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Type: Journal article
Title: A qualitative approach to the study of causal reasoning in natural language: The domain of genes, risks and cancer
Author: O'Doherty, K.
Navarro, D.
Crabb, S.
Citation: Theory & Psychology, 2009; 19(4):475-500
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0959-3543
1461-7447
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Kieran C. O'Doherty, Daniel J. Navarro and Shona H. Crabb
Abstract: Causal reasoning has been studied extensively in experimental cognitive psychology. Generally, the focus is on how individuals learn causal relationships in their environment through observation or interventions. Although it seems self-evident that causal beliefs about some phenomena are learnt largely through linguistic channels, to our knowledge no empirical studies have addressed this issue. In this paper we investigate causal reasoning that is embedded in naturally occurring language. We focus on genetic counselling for cancer, in which complex relationships between genes, medical interventions, and cancer are communicated by health professionals to clients. We borrow the idea of graphical causal maps from previous experimental studies and show that they can be applied to the study of causal reasoning in naturally occurring talk. We see this study as complementing existing experimental research, while maintaining that the study of causal structures embedded in naturalistic language adds an important dimension to our understanding of causal reasoning.
Keywords: Bayes nets; cancer; causal maps; causal reasoning; discourse analysis; genetic counselling; genes; learning; risk
Rights: © The Author(s), 2009
RMID: 0020092197
DOI: 10.1177/0959354309336321
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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