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The propositional or rationalist Bayesian approach to learning is contrasted with an interpretation of causal learning in associative terms. A review of the development of the use of rational causal models in the psychology of learning is discussed concluding with the presentation of three areas of research related to cause-effect learning. We explain how rational context choices, a selective association effect (i.e., blocking of inhibition) as well as causal structure can all emerge from processes that can be modeled using elements of standard associative theory. We present the auto-associator (e.g., Baetu & Baker, 2009) as one such simple account of causal structure.


Journal article


International Journal of Comparative Psychology


International Society for Comparative Psychology

Publication Date





365 - 388