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Professor Marc Buehner PhD Sheffield, MA UCLA, Diploma Regensburg

Professor Marc Buehner

PhD Sheffield, MA UCLA, Diploma Regensburg


School of Psychology

+44 (0)29 2087 0035
Tower Building, 70 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Available for postgraduate supervision


Research summary

My research interest centers on the role causality plays in various aspects of human cognition: How we build causal knowledge from available evidence, how causal knowledge shapes how we experience the world, and how it influences our decision making. I am a cognitive scientist and experimental psychologist.  My research mostly involves adult humans, but sometimes also children, and I take a keen interest in the comparative cognition literature.

I am currently an associate editor of Psychological Science, the flagship journal of the Association for Psychological Science (APS)

Teaching summary

I co-ordinate a final year module on Decision Making, hold second year tutorials, and supervise final year projects in a variety of areas. I also supervise professional placements in industry, schools, and clinical as well as research settings.


Undergraduate education

Diploma. Universität Regensburg (1997). Final Grade 1.1 (scale from 1 to 4 where 1 is best)

Postgraduate education

PhD University of Sheffield Cognitive Psychology  (2002). Thesis Title: Delay and Knowledge Mediation in Human Causal Reasoning

M.A.  University of California, Los Angeles (1996). Cognitive   Thesis Title: Causal Judgment and the Power PC Theory GPA: 3.97 (scale from 1 to 4 where 4 is best)


2016 - present  Professor, Cardiff University

2011-2016 Reader, Cardiff University

2007-2011 Senior Lecturer, Cardiff University

2002-2007 Lecturer, Cardiff University

2002 Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Sheffield

2000-2001 Teaching Assistant, University of Sheffield

1998 - 2001 Research Associate, University of Sheffield

1997-1998 Research Scientist and Lecturer, University of Technology, Chemnitz

External Examining Duties

Oxford University (PhD, External Examiner) 2019

University of Essex (PhD, External Examiner) 2019

Hull University (PhD, External Examiner) 2017

University of Bath (BSc in Psychology, External Examiner)   2016-2018

Goldsmith’s College, London (BSc in Psychology, External Examiner)  2015 - 2018

University College London (PhD, External Examiner)  2015

Hong Kong University (Psychology Master’s Degree validation consulting)   2014

St. Mary’s University College, London (Foundation degree revalidation consultant)                                                                               2013

Paris University (PhD, External Examiner)    2012

Queens University, Belfast (PhD, External Examiner)    2009

University of Hertfordshire (PhD, External Examiner)   2005

Honours and awards

  • 2010: BPS Cognitive Section Prize
  • 1995-1996: Fulbright Scholar
  • 1993-1997: Friedrich Ebert Fellow

Committees and reviewing

Editorial Positions

  • Associate editor, Psychological Science (since 2015)
  • Guest editor, Frontiers in Psychology (2011, 2013)

Reviewing Duties 

Acta Psychologica, American Journal of Psychology, Attention, Perception & Psychophysics,The British Journal of Psychology,Cognition,Cognitive Psychology,Consciousness and Cognition, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General,Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Journal of Experimental Psychology:Animal Behavior Processes,Journal of Problem Solving, Learning and Behavior, Learning and Motivation, Memory and Cognition, Open Psychology Journal, Personality and Individual Differences, PLOS One, Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, Psychological Bulletin, Social Psychology, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology,Thinking and Reasoning





  • Buehner, M. 2018. Space, time, and causality. In: Waldmann, M. ed. The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning. Oxford University Press, pp. 549 -564.













  • Buehner, M. J. and McGregor, S. 2005. Probability and contiguity trade-offs in causal induction. Presented at: 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Stresa, Italy, 21-23 July 2005 Presented at Bara, B. G., Barsalou, L. W. and Bucciarelli, M. eds.Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates pp. 360-365.
  • Buehner, M. J. 2005. Contiguity and Covariation in Human Causal Inference. Learning and Behavior 33(2), pp. 230-238. (10.3758/BF03196065)
  • Buehner, M. J. and Cheng, P. W. 2005. Causal learning. In: Holyoak, K. J. and Morrison, R. G. eds. The Cambridge Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. Cambridge Handbooks in Psychology Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 143-168.






  • Buehner, M. J. and Cheng, P. W. 1997. Causal induction: The power PC theory versus the Rescorla-Wagner model. Presented at: Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Stanford, CA, USA, 7-10 August 1997 Presented at Shafto, M. G. and Langley, P. eds.Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society: August 7-10, 1997, Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum pp. 55-60.

Research Topics and Related Papers

Temporal Binding of Cause and Effect -- The Interplay of  Causality with Agency, Intention, and Time Percpetion

That Time is a guide to Causality  -- that cause precedes effect (temporal priority), and that effect usually follows the cause straight away (temporal contiguity) -- is well established within cognitive science.  Research at the beginning of this century, however, has suggested that the relation between time and causality is bi-directional: Not only does temporal contiguity signal the presence of a causal relation, but when we know that there is a causal relation, our perception of time contracts.  This temporal binding effect is often (incorrectly) attributed to intentionality (intentional binding), but is in fact rooted in causality,

Lorimer, S., McCormack, T., Blakey, E., Lagnado, D., Hoerl, C., Tecwyn, E. & Buehner, M.J. (2020). The Developmental Profile of Temporal Binding: From Childhood to Adulthood. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Tecwyn, E. C., Bechlivanidis, C., Lagnado, D., Hoerl, C., Lorimer, S., Blakey, E., McCormack, T. & Buehner, M.J. (2020). Causality influences children’s and adults’ experience of temporal order. Developmental Psychology 56(4), pp. 739-755.

Hoerl, C., Lorimer, S., McCormack, T., Lagnado, A., Blakey, E., Tecwyn, E. & Buehner, M.J. (2020). Temporal Binding Causation, and Agency: Developing a New Theoretical Framework. Cognitive Science 44.

Fereday, R., Buehner, M.J. & Rushton, S.K. (2019). The role of time perception in temporal binding: Impaired temporal resolution in causal sequences. Cognition 193.

Blakey E., Tecwyn E.C., McCormack T., Lagnado, D.A., Hoerl, C., Lorimer, S. & Buehner, M.J. (2019). When causality shapes the experience of time: Evidence for temporal binding in young children. Dev Sci. 2019;22:e12769.

Fereday, R. & Buehner, M. J. (2017). Temporal Binding and Internal Clocks: No Evidence for a General Slowing of Pacemaker Speed. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 43(5), 971-985.

Buehner, M. J. (2015). Awareness of Voluntary and Involuntary Causal Actions and their Outcomes. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice, 2(3), 237-252.

Buehner, M.J. (2012). Understanding the Past, Predicting the Future: Causation, not Intentional Action, is the Root of Temporal Binding.  Psychological Science, 23(12), 1490-1497.

Humphreys, G. R. & Buehner, M.J. (2010).  Temporal Binding of Action and Effect in Interval Reproduction. Experimental Brain Research, 203(2), 465-470.

Buehner, M.J. & Humphreys, G. R. (2010). Causal Contraction: Spatial Binding in the Perception of Collision Events. Psychological Science, 21(1), 44-48.

Humphreys, G. R. & Buehner, M.J. (2009).  Magnitude estimation reveals temporal binding at super second intervals. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35(5), 1542 - 1549.

Buehner, M.J. & Humphreys, G. R. (2009). Causal binding of actions to their effects. Psychological Science, 20(1), 1221-1228.

Kennedy, J. S., Buehner, M. J., & Rushton, S. K. (2009). Adaptation to sensory-motor temporal misalignment: Instrumental or perceptual learning? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 62(3), 453-469.

Causal Inference: The Role of Covariation, Contingency, and Temporal Contiguity

Humans infer causal relations from non-causal statistical input. Traditional (contingency-based) approaches assume that reasoners have access to discrete information about the presence and absence of candidate causes and effects. Yet, real life is not neatly parsed into such 'learning trials'. Instead, deciding whether or not a candidate cause and subsequent effect belong together or should be parsed as an ineffective, failed cause, followed by an effect that occured due to other, unknown causes, is an important part of the inductuve process.

Greville, W. J., Buehner, M. J. & Johansen, M. K. (2020). Causing time: Evaluating causal changes to the when rather than the whether of an outcome.  Memory & Cognition, 15(30).

Greville, W. J. S. & Buehner, M. J. (2016) Temporal Predictability Enhances Judgments of Causality in in elemental causal induction from both observation and intervention. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69 (4), 678-697.

Ab Rashid, A. A. & Buehner, M. J. (2013). Causal Reasoning with Continuous Outcomes.  In: Knauf, M., Sebanz, N., Pauen, M., & Wachsmuth, I. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Thirty-fifth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Greville, W.J., & Buehner, M.J. (2012). Assessing Evidence for a Common Function of Delay in Causal Learning and Reward Discounting. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 1-13.

Greville, W.J., Cassar, A., Johansen, M.K., & Buehner, M.J. (2013). Structural Awareness mitigates the Effect of Delay in Human Causal Learning. Memory & Cognition, 41(6), 904-916.

Greville, W.J., & Buehner, M.J. (2010). Temporal Predictability Facilitates Causal Learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology:General, 139(4), 756-771.

Greville, W.J., Cassar, A., Johansen, M.K., & Buehner, M.J. (2010). Structure Awareness in Action-Outcome Learning Eradicates the Detrimental Effect of Reinforcement Delays. In: S. Ohlsson & R. Catrambone (Eds.), Proceedings of the Thirty-second Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Buehner, M.J. & May, J. (2009). Causal Induction from Continuous Event Streams: Evidence for Delay-Induced Attribution Shifts. Journal of Problem Solving, 2(2).

Buehner, M.J. & McGregor, S.J. (2009). Probability and Contiguity Trade-Offs in Human Causal Induction. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 22(1).

Greville, W. J., & Buehner, M. J. (2007). The Influence of Temporal Distributions on Causal Induction from Tabular Data. Memory & Cognition, 35(3), 444-453.

Buehner M. J. & McGregor, S. (2006). Temporal Delays can facilitate Causal Attribution: Towards a General Timeframe Bias in Causal Induction. Thinking & Reasoning 12(4), 353-378.

Buehner, M. J. (2005). Contiguity and Covariation in Human Causal Inference.  Learning and Behavior, 33(2), 230-238.

Buehner, M.J. & May, J. (2004).  Abolishing the effect of reinforcement delay on human causal judgments. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 57B (2), 179-191.

Buehner, M.J. & May, J. (2003). Rethinking Temporal Contiguity and the Judgment of Causality:  Effects of Prior Knowledge, Experience, and Reinforcement Procedure. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 56A(5), 865 - 890.

Buehner, M. J., & May, J. (2002). Knowledge mediates the timeframe of covariation assessment in human causal induction.  Thinking & Reasoning 8(4), 269-295.

From Covariation to Causation

Causal inference goes beyond the mere tracking of associations: Cauality has inherent directionality, while associations do not. Yet, associative leardning theories are often used to model human causal inference. In this line of work, I show that this approach is not tenable, and that humans represent causality in line with theories that postulate an understanding of causal powers, i.e. invariant properties of the environment.

Booth, S.L. & Buehner, M.J. (2007).  Asymmetries in Cue Competition in Forward and Backward Blocking Designs: Further Evidence for Causal Model Theory. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60(3), 387-399.

Buehner, M. J. (2006). A causal power approach to learning with rates. In: R. Sun & N. Miyake (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Buehner, M. J., Cheng, P.W., & Clifford, D. (2003). From covariaton to causation: A test of the assumption of causal power. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 29 (6), 1119-11140.

Decision Making & Dishonesty

I am interested in applying psychological theories and principles to everyday behaviours and consumer preferences

Buehner, M. J., & Townsend, E. (2015). A Rude Assessment and I’m Faking It: Witnessing Incivility Compels People to Cheat.  Assessment and Development Matters, 7(4), 20-24.

Storey, K., Jiga, G. & Buehner, M.J. (2013). Smokers Discount their Drug of Abuse in the Same Way as Other Consumable Rewards.  Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(10), 1992-2007.

Saunders, T. & Buehner, M.J. (2013). The Gut chooses Faster than the Mind: A Latency Advantage of Affective over Cognitive Decisions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology , 66(2),381-388.

Evans, L. & Buehner, M.J. (2011). Small Samples Do Not Cause Greater Accuracy - But Clear Data May Cause Small Samples. Comment on Fiedler and Kareev (2006).  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 37(3), 792-799.

Cavazza, M. O., Lugrin, J-L., & Buehner, M. J. (2007). Causal Perception in Virtual Reality and its Implications for Presence Factors. Presence, 16(6), 623-642.

Vera-Muños, S. C., Shackell, M., & Buehner, M. J. (2007). Accountants’ Usage of Causal Business Models in the Presence of Benchmark Data. Contemporary Accounting Research, 24(3), 1015-1038.

Plunkett, H. R. & Buehner, M. J. (2007). The Relation of General and Specific Locus of Control to Intertemporal Monetary Choice. Personality and Individual Differences, 42(7), 1233-1242.

Lugrin, J-L., Cavazza, M.O., & Buehner, M.J. (2006). Causal Perception in Virtual Environments. In A.Butz et al. (Eds.) Smart Graphics 2006. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Berlin: Springer. pp50-61.

White, M, Pahl, S, Buehner, M. J., & Haye, A. (2003).  Trust in Risky Messages: The role of prior attitudes.  Risk Analysis, 23(4), 717-726.

Book Chapters and Overview Papers

Buehner, M. J. (2017). Time, Space, and Causality. In: Waldmann, M. (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Causal Reasoning. Oxford University Press, pp 549 – 564.

Buehner, M. J. (2014). The Psychology of Time and Causality. Euresis Journal

Buehner, M. J. (2014). Time and Causality: Editorial. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.

Cheng, P. W. & Buehner, M. J. (2012). Causal Learning. In Holyoak, K. J. & Morrison, R. G. (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, pp. 210 – 233.

Buehner, M.J. (2010). Temporal Binding. In: Nobre, C. & Coull, J. (Eds.) Attention and Time. Oxford University Press, pp201-211

Buehner, M. J. & Cheng, P. W. (2005). Causal Learning. In R. Morrison & K. J. Holyoak (Eds.) Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning. Cambridge University Press, pp143-168.

May, J., Buehner, M. J., & Duke, D. (2002). Continuity in Cognition. Universal Access in the Information Society, 1(4), 252-262.


2019-2020: Temporal Binding in Interval and Event Perception (FAPESP) £4,500

2015-2018: Time and Causality in Cognitive Development (Leverhulme Trust) £229,000

2005-2008: Causality Induced Perceptual Shifts in Event Perception (EPSRC)  £120,000

2005: Confidence, Reliability, and Causal Learning (ESRC) Co-Investigators:  York Hagmayer and Peter White £45,498

2002: The Influence of Delay on Human Causal Reasoning (ESRC)  Co-Investigator: Jon May £39,840

2002-2003: The Influence of Delay on Human Causal Reasoning (Cardiff Young  Researchers) £29,706

2003-2005: Temporal Contiguity and Blocking in Human Causal Reasoning  (British Council) Collaboration with Michael Waldmann, Göttingen, Germany   £2,860

I’ve also been supported by travel grants from the Royal Society, and summer bursaries from the EPS.

Current Collaborators

Christos Bechlivanidis (UCL)
Andre Cravo (UFABC)
James Greville (University of South Wales)
Christoph Hoerl (Warwick)
Mark Johansen (Cardiff University)
David Lagnado (UCL)
Axel Lindner (U Tübingen)
Teresa McCormack (Quuens Belfast)
Emma Tecwyn (Birmingham City)
Manuel Roth (U Tübingen)


Postgraduate research interests

I am interested to supervise postgraduates in the areas of causal learning, temporal binding, and decision making.

For more information on my research in all of these areas, please see my publications or research pages.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application.

Past projects

Previous PhD students, funding source, and career destinations

  • Dan Shiloh (2019) - co-supervised with Peter White. Temporal Binding in Phenomenal Causality. EPSRC studentship. Now at Office for National Statistics.
  • Richard Fereday (2018) - co-supervised with Peter White. Temporal Binding and Internal Clocks. School studentship. Lecturer at Birmingham City.
  • Ahmad Azad Ab Rashid (2014) Causal Reasoning with Continuous Outcomes. Studentship from Malaysian Institute for Road Safety Research (MIROS). Research Scientist at MIROS.
  • James Greville (2012) Beyond Contiguity: The Role of Temporal Distributions and Predictability in Human Causal Learning. EPSRC Studentship. Hadyn Ellis Prize for best PhD. Lectureships at Swansea and University of South Wales.
  • Laurel Evans (2012). Thinking style: The missing side of cognitive ability. Self-funded. Freelance Psychological Scientist.
  • Gruffydd Humphreys (2010). Temporal binding in causal and non-causal event sequences. EPSRC funded. BPS Cognitive Section Prize 2010.
  • Jon Kennedy (2010). Co-suopervised with Simon Rushton.  Doing and time: visuomotor adaptations to temporal misalignment. School studentship. Post-doctoral position at Birmingham Univeristy.