Tobias Gerstenberg

Tobias Gerstenberg

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 can also capture 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.

Contact

You can access my full CV here.

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

Publications

Note: * indicates joint first authorship

Forthcoming

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., Peterson, M. F., Goodman, N. D, Lagnado, D. A. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (submitted). Eye-tracking causality.

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

Gerstenberg, T. & Tenenbaum, J. B. (in press). Intuitive theories. Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning.

Lagnado, D. A. & Gerstenberg, T. (in press). Causation in legal and moral reasoning. Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning.

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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

2015

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

2014

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

2013

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

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

2012

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

2011

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

Gerstenberg, T., Ejova, A. & Lagnado, D. A. (2011). Blame the skilled. [pdf]

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

2010

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

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

2009

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

Press

2012

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

2010

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

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