Spontaneous causal inferences

Ran R. Hassin*, John A. Bargh, James S. Uleman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Three studies examine the hypothesis that people spontaneously (i.e., unintentionally and without awareness of doing so) infer causes (the Spontaneous Causal Inference, or SCI, hypothesis). Using a cued-recall paradigm, Study 1 examines whether SCIs occur and Study 2 allows for a comparison between implicitly inferred and explicitly mentioned causes. Study 3 examines whether SCIs can be fully explained in terms of spreading activation to general, abstract schemes. It is suggested that STIs (e.g., Winter & Uleman, 1984), and spontaneous predicting inferences (e.g., McKoon & Ratclif, 1986a, 1986b), may be better understood in their relation to SCIs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was partly supported by a Fulbright post-doctoral grant to Hassin and by a Public Health Service Grant R01-MH60767 to Bargh.


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