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 Vol 5: Testing Bayesian and heuristic predictions of mass judgments of colliding objects.


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This article is from Frontiers in Psychology, volume 5.AbstractMass judgments of colliding objects have been used to explore peoples understanding of the physical world because they are ecologically relevant, yet people display biases that are most easily explained by a small set of heuristics. Recent work has challenged the heuristic explanation, by producing the same biases from a model that copes with perceptual uncertainty by using Bayesian inference with a prior based on the correct combination rules from Newtonian mechanics noisy Newton. Here I test the predictions of the leading heuristic model Gilden and Proffitt, 1989 against the noisy Newton model using a novel manipulation of the standard mass judgment task: making one of the objects invisible post-collision. The noisy Newton model uses the remaining information to predict above-chance performance, while the leading heuristic model predicts chance performance when one or the other final velocity is occluded. An experiment using two different types of occlusion showed better-than-chance performance and response patterns that followed the predictions of the noisy Newton model. The results demonstrate that people can make sensible physical judgments even when information critical for the judgment is missing, and that a Bayesian model can serve as a guide in these situations. Possible algorithmic-level accounts of this task that more closely correspond to the noisy Newton model are explored.



Author: Sanborn, Adam N.

Source: https://archive.org/



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