Development of Intuitive Theories of Motion. Curvilinear Motion in the Absence of External Forces

Mary Kister Kaiser, Michael McCloskey, Dennis R. Proffitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-71
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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