ERIC Number: ED223418
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
The Straight-Down Belief.
McCloskey, Michael; And Others
Through everyday experience people acquire knowledge about how moving objects behave. For example, if a rock is thrown up into the air, it will fall back to earth. Research has shown that people's ideas about why moving objects behave as they do are often quite inconsistent with the principles of classical mechanics. In fact, many people hold a systematic, well-developed naive theory of motion that bears a striking resemblance to a theory of mechanics popular in the 14th through 16th centuries. When a simple problem (focusing on the straight-down belief) was given to 80 college students, less than half reported the correct answer. The straight-down belief (or misconception) holds that when an object carried by another moving object is dropped, it will fall straight to the ground. One explanation is that this belief results from a visual illusion occurring in many common situations where carried objects, namely, the phenomenon of induced motion. Results of several experiments indicate that the type of induced motion effects suggested may be the source of the straight-down belief. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Misconceptions; National Science Foundation; Science Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Philadelphia, PA, November 1981.