Original Paper


, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1-42

First online:

Phenomenal Causality I: Varieties and Variables

  • Timothy L. HubbardAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Texas Christian University Email author 

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The empirical literature on phenomenal causality (i.e., the notion that causality can be perceived) is reviewed. In Part I of this two-part series, different potential types of phenomenal causality (launching, triggering, reaction, tool, entraining, traction, braking, enforced disintegration and bursting, coordinated movement, penetration, expulsion) are described. Stimulus variables (temporal gap, spatial gap, spatial overlap, direction, absolute velocity, velocity ratio, trajectory length, radius of action, size, motion type, modality, animacy) and observer variables (attention, eye movements and fixation, prior experience, intelligence, age, culture, psychopathology) that influence phenomenal causality are reviewed. This provides the necessary background for consideration in Part II (Hubbard, in press) of broader questions regarding properties of phenomenal causality, empirical and theoretical connections of phenomenal causality to other perceptual or cognitive phenomena or processes, and potential mechanisms and models of phenomenal causality.


Phenomenal causality Launching effect Perception of causality Causal impression Causal representation Intentionality Spatial representation Michotte