Prediction or Causation? Towards a Redefinition of Task Controllability

Trends Cogn Sci. 2021 Jun;25(6):431-433. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2021.02.009. Epub 2021 Mar 9.


As research investigating controllability perception gains momentum, the algorithmic definition of controllability must be updated to avoid confusion between controllability and predictability. Reframing controllable environments as environments that allow agents to exert causal influences over state transitions can circumvent the confounding influence of predictability when designing cognitive tasks.

Keywords: causality; controllability; learned helplessness; predictability; transfer entropy; uncertainty.

MeSH terms

  • Helplessness, Learned*
  • Humans