Tobias Gerstenberg

Tobias Gerstenberg

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Email: tger at mit dot edu
Mail: MIT Building 46-4053, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

You can access my CV here.

Research

I am a postdoctoral associate at MIT in Josh Tenenbaum's Computational Cognitive Science Group.
I am interested in causality, counterfactuals, and responsibility. In my work, I investigate the ways in which these different concepts are linked. For example, when judging whether one event caused another event to happen, people often compare what actually happened with what they think would have happened in the absence of the causal event. People make use of their intuitive understanding of a given domain, such as physics or psychology, to simulate what would have happened in the relevant counterfactual world. I show that this general counterfactual account of causal attribution also captures people's responsibility attributions to individuals in groups for collectively brought about outcomes.

You can see me in action here at an invited symposium on causation at SPP2016.

I will be joining Stanford in the Summer of 2018 as Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Publications

Note: * indicates joint first authorship

Symbol legend:
PDF = PDF download of the paper
Github = Github repository
Open Science Framework = Open Science Framework repository
Data = Data download
Poster = Poster download
Bibtex = BibTex file download
Demo = Link to experiment demo
Link = Link to external page
Talk = Link to talk slides on figshare

Forthcoming

Bramley, N., Gerstenberg, T., Tenenbaum, J. B. & Gureckis, T. M. (submitted). Intuitive experiments in the physical world.

Niemi, L., Hartshorne, J., Gerstenberg, T. & Young, L. (submitted). Moral values pervade causal attribution: Evidence from the implicit verb causality task and explicit judgments.

Bramley, N., Gerstenberg, T., Mayrhofer, R. & Lagnado, D. A. (submitted). The role of time in causal learning.

Koskuba, K., Schlottmann, A., Gerstenberg, T., Gordon, H. & Lagnado, D. A. (submitted). What's fair? How children assign reward to members of teams with differing causal structures.

Gerstenberg, T., Ullman, T. D., Nagel, J., Kleiman-Weiner, M., Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (submitted). Lucky or clever? From expectations to responsibility judgments.

2017

Gerstenberg, T., Peterson, M. F., Goodman, N. D, Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2017). Eye-tracking causality. Psychological Science. Github Open Science Framework PDF Link
• Press: MIT News, Seeker, MedicalResearch.com

Bramley, N. Mayrhofer, R., Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. (2017). Causal learning from interventions and dynamics in continuous time. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society PDF BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Zhou, L., Smith, K. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2017). Faulty Towers: A hypothetical simulation model of physical support. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society PDF Github Talk BibTex

Stephan, S., Willemsen, P. & Gerstenberg, T. (2017). Marbles in inaction: Counterfactual simulation and causation by omission. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society PDF Talk BibTex

Yildirim*, I., Gerstenberg*, T., Saeed, B., Toussant, M. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2017). Physical problem solving: Joint planning with symbolic, geometric, and dynamic constraints. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society PDF Github Poster BibTex

Gerstenberg, T. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2017). Intuitive theories. In M. Waldmannn (Ed.), Oxford handbook of causal reasoning (pp. 515-548). Oxford University Press. PDF Link BibTex

Lagnado, D. A. & Gerstenberg, T. (2017). Causation in legal and moral reasoning. In M. Waldmannn (Ed.), Oxford handbook of causal reasoning (pp. 565-602). Oxford University Press. PDF Link BibTex

2016

Gershman*, S. J., Gerstenberg*, T., Baker, C. L. & Cushman, F. A. (2016). Plans, habits, and theory of mind. PLoS ONE, 11 (9), e0162246. PDF BibTex

Gerstenberg, T. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2016). Understanding "almost": Empirical and computational studies of near misses. Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex Github

Bramley, N., Gerstenberg, T. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2016). Natural science: Active learning in dynamic physical microworlds. Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex

Niemi, L., Hartshorne, J., Gerstenberg, T. & Young, L. (2016). Implicit measurement of motivated causal attribution. Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex

2015

Alicke, M. D., Mandel, D. R, Hilton, D., Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2015). Causal conceptions in social explanation and moral evaluation: A historical tour. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10 (6), 790-812. PDF BibTex

Lagnado, D. A. & Gerstenberg, T. (2015). A difference-making framework for intuitive judgments of responsibility. In Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility (Volume 3), D. Shoemaker (Ed.). PDF Link BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Goodman, N. D., Lagnado, D. A., & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2015). How, whether, why: Causal judgments as counterfactual contrasts. In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX, 782-787. PDF Poster Data BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Halpern, J. Y., & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2015). Responsibility judgments in voting scenarios. In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX, 788-793. PDF Data BibTex

Kleiman-Weiner, M., Gerstenberg, T., Levine, S. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2015). Inference of intention and permissibility in moral decision making. In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex

Allen, K., Jara-Ettinger, J., Gerstenberg, T., Kleiman-Weiner, M. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2015). Go fishing! Responsibility judgments when cooperation breaks down. In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex

Goodman, N. D., Tenenbaum, J. B. & Gerstenberg, T. (2015). Concepts in a probabilistic language of thought. In The Conceptual Mind: New Directions in the Study of Concepts, Margolis & Lawrence (Eds.). PDF BibTex

Kominsky, J. F., Phillips, J., Gerstenberg, T., Lagnado, D. A. & Knobe, J. (2015). Causal superseding, Cognition, 137, 196-209. PDF BibTex

2014

Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2014). Attributing responsibility: Actual and counterfactual worlds. In J. Knobe, T. Lombrozo & S. Nichols (Eds.), Oxford Studies of Experimental Philosophy PDF Link BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Goodman, N. D., Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2014). From counterfactual simulation to causal judgment. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. PDF Demo Data BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Ullman, T. D., Kleiman-Weiner, M., Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2014). Wins above replacement: Responsibility attributions as counterfactual replacements. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. PDF Demo Data Poster BibTex

Bramley, N. R., Gerstenberg T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2014). The order of things: Inferring causal structure from temporal patterns. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. PDF Demo BibTex

Kominsky, J. F., Phillips, J., Knobe, J., Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2014). Causal supersession. In P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Eds.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex

2013

Lagnado, D. A., Gerstenberg, T. & Zultan, R. (2013). Causal responsibility and counterfactuals. Cognitive Science, 47, 1036-1073. PDF BibTex Demo Data

Gerstenberg, T., Bechlivanidis, C. & Lagnado, D. A. (2013). Back on track: Backtracking in counterfactual reasoning. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. PDF BibTex Demo Data Poster

Gerstenberg, T. (2013). Making a difference: Responsibility, causality and counterfactuals. Unpublished PhD thesis. PDF BibTex

2012

Zultan, R., Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2012). Finding fault: Causality and counterfactuals in group attributions. Cognition, 125(3), 429-440. PDF Demo Data BibTex

Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2012). When contributions make a difference: Explaining order effects in responsibility attributions. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19(4), 729-736. PDF Demo Data BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Goodman, N. D., Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2012). Noisy Newtons: Unifying process and dependency accounts of causal attribution. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 378-383. PDF Demo Data BibTex

Gerstenberg, T. & Goodman, N. D. (2012). Ping Pong in Church: Productive use of concepts in human probabilistic inference. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 1590-1595. PDF Demo Data BibTex Poster

McCoy*, J., Ullman*, T., Stuhlmüller, A., Gerstenberg, T. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2012). Probabilistic generative models for counterfactual reasoning and blame attribution.In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society,1996-2001. PDF BibTex

2011

Gerstenberg, T., Lagnado, D. A, Speekenbrink, M. & Cheung, C. (2011). Rational order effects in responsibility attributions. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 1715-1720. PDF Data Demo BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Ejova, A. & Lagnado, D. A. (2011). Blame the skilled. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 720-725. PDF Data Demo BibTex

Schächtele, S., Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2011). Beyond outcomes: The influence of intentions and deception. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher, & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 1860-1865. PDF BibTex

2010

Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2010). Spreading the blame: The allocation of responsibility amongst multiple agents. Cognition, 115, 166-171. PDF Data BibTex

Gerstenberg, T., Lagnado, D. A. & Kareev, Y. (2010). The dice are cast: The role of intended versus actual contributions in responsibility attribution. In S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society, 1697-1702. PDF Data Demo BibTex Poster

Meder, B., Gerstenberg, T., Hagmayer, Y. & Waldmann, M. (2010). Observing and intervening: Rational and heuristic models of causal decision making. The Open Psychology Journal, 3, 119-135. PDF BibTex

2009

Gerstenberg, T. (2009). The allocation of responsibility amongst multiple causes. Unpublished MSc
thesis
. PDF

Posters

2017

Yildirim*, I., Gerstenberg*, T., Saeed, B., Toussant, M. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2017). Physical problem solving: Joint planning with symbolic, geometric, and dynamic constraints. Poster

Hosseini, E. A., Pollock, E. & Gerstenberg*, T. (2017). Eye movement based probabilistic models for physical scene understanding. Poster

2015

Gerstenberg, T., Goodman, N., Lagnado, D. & Tenenbaum, J. (2015). A counterfactual simulation model of causal judgment. Poster download

2014

Gerstenberg, T., Ullman, T. D., Kleiman-Weiner, M., Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2014). Wins above replacement: Responsibility attributions as counterfactual replacements. Poster download

2013

Gerstenberg, T., Bechlivanidis, C. & Lagnado, D. A. (2013). Back on track: Backtracking in counterfactual reasoning. Poster download

Gerstenberg, T., Goodman, N., Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (2013). General principles of causal attribution. Poster download - Overview poster

2012

Gerstenberg, T. & Goodman, N. (2012). Ping Pong in Church: Productive use of concepts in human probabilistic inference. Poster download

2011

Gerstenberg, T., Lagnado, D. A., Speekenbrink, M. & Cheung, C. (2011). Rational order effects in responsibility attributions. Poster download

Gerstenberg, T., Ejova, A. & Lagnado, D. A. (2011). Blame the skilled. Poster download

Schächtele, S., Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2011). Beyond outcomes: The influence of intentions and deception. Poster download

2010

Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2010). The allocation of responsibility amongst multiple agents. Poster download - Overview poster

Gerstenberg, T., Lagnado, D. A. & Kareev, Y. (2010). The dice are cast: The role of intended versus actual contributions in responsibility attribution. Poster download

2009

Gerstenberg, T. & Lagnado, D. A. (2009). Spreading the Blame: The allocation of responsibility amongst multiple agents. Poster download

Press

2012

Are you responsible for the outcome of the election? (05.11.2012) - Blog entry written by Tania Lombrozo which covers the Zultan, Gerstenberg & Lagnado (2012) paper. Link

2010

AXA Talent Day Video (08.10.2010) - Video created in the context of a talent day organized by AXA in Paris. Link

Who is to blame when groups succeed or fail? (02.03.2010) - Blog entry written by Art Markman in Psychology Today summarising the Gerstenberg & Lagnado (2010) paper. Link