Accession Number:

ADA199036

Title:

Generative Processes in Representations of Problems.

Descriptive Note:

Final technical rept. 6 Mar 1984-5 Mar 1987

Corporate Author:

PITTSBURGH UNIV PA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

1988-08-09

Pagination or Media Count:

25.0

Abstract:

Addressing questions concerning representation and restructuring in the domain of mechanics, this research sought to identify basic representational structures involving forces, objects, and motions and to show how people use them to construct predictions and explanations in particular situations. A closely related objective was to examine the nature of representational change, both spontaneous and stimulated by different forms of instruction. We conducted two sets of studies examining the nature and use of physics knowledge on the part of naive individuals--those having never formally studied physics. The first study was descriptive, examining the extent to which naive reasoners about physics can be said to work from theoretical principles, as opposed to constructing ad hoc, local explanations that cannot properly be called theories. The second focused on restructuring as a result of certain kinds of feedback. Subjects appeared to have organized ideas about how forces and motions combine, but they made distinctions among situations that would not be needed within Newtonian theory. Results of these studies invite further investigation of both the structure of naive representations and the conditions and processes of restructuring.

Subject Categories:

  • Mechanics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE