PSYC 101 Lecture 10: Lecture 10 Notes

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University of California - San Diego
PSYC 101
Adena Schachner

PSYC101 Lecture 10 Notes 51117 Mental Theories of Physics o Core knowledge theory Infants understand lots about intuitive physicsimplicit knowledge Understand object permanencecontinuity, solidity, cohesion, and basic support o Limitations to childrens understanding of physics Experiment: conservation tasks (failure to understand that quantities are conserved) Conservation of liquids: wide and short glass vs. tall and narrow glass are presented with the same amount of liquid, but 4 and 5 year olds believe there are different amounts Conservation of solids: take a piece of clay and stretch it out. Children believe there is more clay in the longer piece Conservation of number: lay number of pennies out. Stretch out pennies so one line is longer than the other. Children think there are more pennies in longer row o However, when the pennies are stretched out accidentally, the children think there are the same number of pennies Evidence of physical understanding: Interest in magic tricks Most 3yearolds are not interested in magic tricks By 5 years, kids are fascinated when impossible things happen o Emerging understanding: even strange events must have causes o Contribute to development of explicit reason for events Experiment: gravity machine used where a ball can be placed in 1 of 3 windy tubes Children believe that the ball will fall straight down instead of following the tube Gravity bias error; think that gravity overrules the physics of the tubes o As adults, we still have wrong intuitions Ex: when a ball is dropped from a moving airplane, it is not dropped straight down; rather, it moves forward because it has an initial velocity, that slows down over time o Magical thinking Claim: young children live in world where fantasy and reality are intertwined Do kids act like they believe in magic? Experiment: 35 year olds shown 3 boxes. Box 1 has a pencil. Box 2 is empty. Box 3 is empty, but children are told to imagine a pencil inside. After, asked if there is a pencil in box 3 and children say yes. However, when asked to give a pencil, they dont look in box 3 How common are imaginary friends? Very common; majority of children had imaginary friend Used for company, to deflect blame, indirect communication Correlated with lack of television, high verbal skill, and advanced theory of mind Adults also have magical beliefs Superstitions: walking under a ladder, knocking on wood, breaking a mirror Horoscopes, faith healing, demonic possession, fortune telling, astrology
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