Impetus Physics

Cognition and Culture, a weblog devoted to cognitive science and anthropology, has an interesting post about folk theories of physics. People naturally subscribe to a view they call “impetus physics”, where objects only move if they receive an impetus from an outside agent, which leads to a variety of false predictions. Physicists learn to give the right predictions, but a recent experiment showed that when asked to make intuitive predictions under some circumstances physicists will revert to the intuitive folk theory.

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