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Conference Paper

Bayesian Causal Induction


Ortega,  PA
Research Group Sensorimotor Learning and Decision-Making, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Ortega, P. (2011). Bayesian Causal Induction. In NIPS 2011 Workshop on Philosophy and Machine Learning (pp. 1-4).

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B8D2-0
Discovering causal relationships is a hard task, often hindered by the need for intervention, and often requiring large amounts of data to resolve statistical uncertainty. However, humans quickly arrive at useful causal relationships. One possible reason is that humans extrapolate from past experience to new, unseen situations: that is, they encode beliefs over causal invariances, allowing for sound generalization from the observations they obtain from directly acting in the world. Here we outline a Bayesian model of causal induction where beliefs over competing causal hypotheses are modeled using probability trees. Based on this model, we illustrate why, in the general case, we need interventions plus constraints on our causal hypotheses in order to extract causal information from our experience.