Social Cause-and-Effect

But cause-and-effect doesn’t just happen between objects. It can also happen between living things, such as people or animals. If you ask someone to flip a switch to make something happen, your request and their response is also a cause-and-effect relation. In this case, the cause is the verbal words you use to ask. The effect is the change in the other person’s behavior. Maybe the person was sitting down when you asked. By asking them to turn on the light, you caused them to get up and flip the switch.

Children are as interested in social interactions between people as physical interactions between objects. A lot of the time, children also need to get help from adults or older brothers and sisters. Figuring out how to cause people to change their behavior is useful for children to know about. It is important for their social development. We call this social causality instead of physical causality.

  • Intervention
    an action taken on something with the goal of bringing about an effect
    Spatial contact
    when two or more objects touch each other