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Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem
written by Sara Jaramillo, Eric Kuo, Benjamin M. Rottman, and Timothy J. Nokes-Malach
Understanding the nature of causality is a key component of conceptual understanding in science. The hypothesis of this study is that certain types of causal inference are more challenging than others. If correct, particularly challenging causal inferences may provide a unified explanation for different conceptual difficulties across physics content areas. This paper investigates two aspects of a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem that may impact the difficulty of the causal inferences required. The first aspect is the type of causal inference required: cause-to-effect (CE), effect-to-cause (EC), or cause-to-cause (CC). The second aspect is information about an alternative cause, which can be explicitly constant, explicitly unknown, or ambiguous. To test the impact of these two problem aspects on participants inference accuracy we conducted an on-line experiment in which participants were randomly assigned to one of thirty-six conditions that systematically varied these two aspects across conditions. The results show that (i) for explicitly constant alternative causes, CC inferences are more difficult than CE or EC inferences, (ii) inferences given explicitly unknown alternative cause information are more difficult than inferences given explicitly constant alternative causes, and (iii) ambiguous alternative cause information is treated as implying the alternative causes are explicitly constant, which is in line with conversational assumptions rather than a formal, logical perspective. These results hint at the potential fruitfulness of understanding the causal inferences underlying conceptual difficulties in physics.
Physics Education Research Conference 2021
Part of the PER Conference series
Virtual Conference: August 4-5, 2021
Pages 197-202
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Cognition
- Student Characteristics
= Skills
General Physics
- Scientific Reasoning
- Informal Education
- Reference Material
= Research study
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2021…
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This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2021.pr.Jaramillo
Keyword:
PERC 2021
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 30, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 30, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 10, 2021
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Record Link
AIP Format
S. Jaramillo, E. Kuo, B. Rottman, and T. Nokes-Malach, , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484).
AJP/PRST-PER
S. Jaramillo, E. Kuo, B. Rottman, and T. Nokes-Malach, Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484>.
APA Format
Jaramillo, S., Kuo, E., Rottman, B., & Nokes-Malach, T. (2021, August 4-5). Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484
Chicago Format
Jaramillo, S, E. Kuo, B. Rottman, and T. Nokes-Malach. "Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, August 4-5, 2021. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484 (accessed 5 December 2022).
MLA Format
Jaramillo, Sara, Eric Kuo, Benjamin M. Rottman, and Timothy J. Nokes-Malach. "Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem." Physics Education Research Conference 2021. Virtual Conference: 2021. 197-202 of PER Conference. 5 Dec. 2022 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Sara Jaramillo and Eric Kuo and Benjamin M. Rottman and Timothy J. Nokes-Malach", Title = {Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2021}, Pages = {197-202}, Address = {Virtual Conference}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {August 4-5}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Sara Jaramillo %A Eric Kuo %A Benjamin M. Rottman %A Timothy J. Nokes-Malach %T Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem %S PER Conference %D August 4-5 2021 %P 197-202 %C Virtual Conference %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %O August 4-5 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings %A Jaramillo, Sara %A Kuo, Eric %A Rottman, Benjamin M. %A Nokes-Malach, Timothy J. %D August 4-5 2021 %T Investigating causal inference difficulties with a simple, qualitative force-and-motion problem %B Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %C Virtual Conference %P 197-202 %S PER Conference %8 August 4-5 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15752&DocID=5484


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