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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2006 Sep-Oct;123(1-2):144-65. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

The perception of causality in infancy.

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  • 1Psychology Department, Harvard University, United States. <>


Michotte proposed a rationalist theory of the origin of the human capacity to represent causal relations among events. He suggested that the input analyzer that underlies the causal perception in launching, entraining, and expulsion events is innate and is the ultimate source of all causal representations. We review the literature on infant causal representations, providing evidence that launching, entraining and expulsion events are interpreted causally by young infants. However, there is as of yet no good evidence that these representations are innate. Furthermore, there is considerable evidence that these representations are not the sole source of the human capacity for causal representation.

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