Causal conjunction fallacies: the roles of causal strength and mental resources.

Aimee Crisp-Bright, Aidan Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In two experiments we tested the prediction derived from Tversky and Kahneman's (1983) work on the causal conjunction fallacy that the strength of the causal connection between constituent events directly affects the magnitude of the causal conjunction fallacy. We also explored whether any effects of perceived causal strength were due to graded output from heuristic Type 1 reasoning processes or the result of analytic Type 2 reasoning processes. As predicted, Experiment 1 demonstrated that fallacy rates were higher for strongly than for weakly related conjunctions. Weakly related conjunctions in turn attracted higher rates of fallacious responding than did unrelated conjunctions. Experiment 2 showed that a concurrent memory load increased rates of fallacious responding for strongly related but not for weakly related conjunctions. We interpret these results as showing that manipulations of the strength of the perceived causal relationship between the conjuncts result in graded output from heuristic reasoning process and that additional mental resources are required to suppress strong heuristic output.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2320-2337
JournalQuarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


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