Psychology

Learning physics through vectors

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Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 78
DOI: 10.1126/science.354.6308.78-b

Long before they first learn about Newtonian mechanics, children develop an understanding of how objects interact. They learn that taller objects can hide shorter objects (visual occlusion) and that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time (collision). Wang et al. examined children's understanding of a third property (support) by investigating whether 7.5- and 8.5-month-old infants were surprised by the stable arrangement of a wide block resting on top of a small cube. When the center of the bottom of the wide block overhung the cube edge, only the older infants were surprised that it did not fall, which may signal the start of learning about the center of mass and gravity.

Cognition 157, 100 (2016).

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