College students and children between the ages of 4 and 12 were asked to draw the path a ball would take upon exiting a curved tube. As in previous studies, many subjects erroneously predicted curvilinear paths. However, a clear U-shaped curve was evident in the data: Preschoolers and kindergartners performed as well as college students, whereas school-aged children were more likely to make erroneous predictions. A second study suggested that the youngest children's correct responses could not be attributed to response biases or drawing abilities. This developmental trend is interpreted to mean that the school-aged children are developing intuitive theories of motion that include erroneous principles. The results are related to the "growth errors" found in other cognitive domains and to the historical development of formal theories of motion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies