Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Alan Hajnal

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Heather Hill

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Richard Mohn

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

Causal reasoning is marked by the ability to mentally reconstruct the missing part of a sequence in order to reproduce an outcome. While research on causal reasoning has been done with children, the results of the studies have been inconsistent. A standardized paradigm for comparative causal reasoning studies does not exist. Nissani (2006) investigated causal reasoning in a tool-use task with elephants and concluded that elephants were not capable of causal reasoning. The current study, a modified replication, yielded results that were not congruent with Nissani’s (2006) manuscript. Additionally, it was very unlikely that the Nissani (2006) study truly looked at causal reasoning or tool-use, and instead assessed a response acquired through associative learning. Based on the results of the current study, it appears that elephants are capable of a level of causal reasoning, although more research is necessary.

ORCID ID

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5194-8211

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