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Finding causes in psychology and cognitive neuroscience: Obstacles and ways forward

6 March @ 16:00 - 17:30

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Radboud University Donders Institute & Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies   Foundations of Cognition Series (FCS)   When: Friday, March 6, 16:00-17:30 Where: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Oval Office Who: Markus Eronen (RU Groningen) Finding causes in psychology and cognitive neuroscience: Obstacles and ways forward Finding causes is a central goal in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, I argue based on the interventionist approach to causal discovery that the search for causes faces great obstacles…
Radboud University Donders Institute & Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies   Foundations of Cognition Series (FCS)   When: Friday, March 6, 16:00-17:30 Where: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Oval Office Who: Markus Eronen (RU Groningen) Finding causes in psychology and cognitive neuroscience: Obstacles and ways forward Finding causes is a central goal in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, I argue based on the interventionist approach to causal discovery that the search for causes faces great obstacles in these fields. First, psychological interventions are likely to be fat-handed: they change several variables simultaneously, and do not completely determine the value(s) of the variable(s) intervened upon. It is not known to what extent such interventions give leverage for causal inference.  Second, due to problems of measurement, the degree to which an intervention was fat-handed, or more generally, what the intervention in fact did, is difficult to reliably estimate. Third, observational methods that do not rely on interventions require strong assumptions, such as causal sufficiency, which are unlikely to be satisfied considering the complexity of the mind and the brain.  I also discuss the implications of these problems for research, as well as various ways of addressing them, such as focusing more on the discovery of robust but non-causal patterns. For more information on the series, see our website: https://www.ru.nl/fcs

Details

Date:
6 March
Time:
16:00 - 17:30

Venue

Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
Kapittelweg 29
Nijmegen, 6525EN Netherlands
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Radboud University

Donders Institute & Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies

 

Foundations of Cognition Series (FCS)

 

When: Friday, March 6, 16:00-17:30

Where: Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging, Oval Office

Who: Markus Eronen (RU Groningen)

Finding causes in psychology and cognitive neuroscience: Obstacles and ways forward

Finding causes is a central goal in psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In this paper, I argue based on the interventionist approach to causal discovery that the search for causes faces great obstacles in these fields. First, psychological interventions are likely to be fat-handed: they change several variables simultaneously, and do not completely determine the value(s) of the variable(s) intervened upon. It is not known to what extent such interventions give leverage for causal inference.  Second, due to problems of measurement, the degree to which an intervention was fat-handed, or more generally, what the intervention in fact did, is difficult to reliably estimate. Third, observational methods that do not rely on interventions require strong assumptions, such as causal sufficiency, which are unlikely to be satisfied considering the complexity of the mind and the brain.  I also discuss the implications of these problems for research, as well as various ways of addressing them, such as focusing more on the discovery of robust but non-causal patterns.

For more information on the series, see our website: https://www.ru.nl/fcs

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The OZSW event calendar lists academic philosophy events organized by/at Dutch universities, and is offered by the OZSW as a service to the research community. Please check the event in question – through their website or organizer – to find out if you could participate and whether registration is required. Obviously we carry no responsibility for non-OZSW events.