Jonathan F. Kominsky
Ph.D., Developmental Psychology
jkominsky (at) g (dot) harvard (dot) edu
The concept of "causality" covers a vast multitude of phenomena, ranging from billiard balls colliding to legal decisions about culpability to causal mechanisms as simple as an automatic pencil sharpener and as complex as an airplane. I am interested in answering two questions about causality in the human mind:
1) What makes all of these things the same? That is, why do we call all of these things "causality"?
2) What makes each of these things different? Why does a legal decision that negligence caused some event seem intuitively different from watching two billiard balls collide?
To study this, I use methods from cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and vision science. Causality, in different forms, is a topic of interest in all of these domains, and I hope to bridge some of the gaps between them and connect findings from different fields in a more cohesive understanding of causality in the human mind.