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<p>People have a robust ability to reason about the physical world. Not only can we recognize objects and navigate our surroundings, we can also perform complex physical actions (e.g. driving a car), make complex judgments of scenes (e.g. will a stack of plates fall over?), and reason about counterfactuals with which we have no direct experience (e.g. what would happen if you dropped a bowl of Jell-O™ off of the Empire State Building?).</p> <p>Though our physical reasoning abilities are overall quite impressive, decades of research have revealed that people make many characteristic errors in their reasoning about physical scenarios (Kubricht, Holyoak, & Lu, 2017). Many more reasoning errors (e.g. Tversky & Kahneman, 1983) have been discovered outside the physical reasoning domain, and it is as yet unclear whether they would generalize to this type of task.</p> <p>Each error in reasoning is highly informative, as it sheds light on the processes we use to solve these problems. The presence or absence of a particular type of error can do a great deal to argue for or against a specific explanation for a mental process. Some errors are extremely characteristic of a particular model — some would never be observed if a certain theory is correct.</p> <p>In this project, we seek to investigate whether or not people make specific errors when reasoning about three particular physical tasks. The presence or absence of these errors will be highly informative about how we reason about the physical world.</p> <hr> <h4><strong>Citations</strong></h4> <p>Kubricht, J. R., Holyoak, K. J., & Lu, H. (2017). Intuitive physics: Current research and controversies. <em>Trends in cognitive sciences, 21</em>(10), 749-759.</p> <p>Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1983). Extensional versus intuitive reasoning: The conjunction fallacy in probability judgment. <em>Psychological review, 90</em>(4), 293.</p>
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