Andrew Shtulman / Central 501 S5619S 2017
Dr. Shtulman's home page
Human brains are adapted to our ancestral environment, not to scientific reasoning. Many examples are provided about how we learn about the physical world ... or not. Intuitive theories inborn; better understanding by middle school
- 001 pasturized cows milk. Milk-borne disease rates increasing fast, linked to the consumption of unpasteurized milk.
- 003 65% Americans believe in evolution, compared to 98% AAAS. Climate change, 50/87, GMO 37/88
- 004 Intuitive theories, untutored explanations, close minds to differing ideas and observations
- differ from correctable factual errors - coherent, widespread, and robust
- 010 bullet from gun, cannonball from ship, impetus theory versus force and inertia
012 16th century illustration, cannonball impetus lost, then plummet - but, air drag behaves vaguely the same
- 013 we can learn more accurate theories, but we can't unlearn intuitive ones
- 016 Intuitive theories help us survive, scientific theories help us thrive
- 021 Intuitive theories inborn; better understanding by middle school
- 035 confusing heft, bulk, and weight
050 extramissionist: sound comes from ear, vision from eye. Many adults (and Superman) can't shed extramissionist vision.
- 053 Most frostbite from air not ice. Most burns from hot substances, not fire. Most electrical injuries from appliances, not outlets.
- 054 Professional scientists retain misconceptions, but inhibit them. Inhibition from the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, conflict monitoring from the anterior cingulate cortex.
- 060 triangular blocks overhanging edges, 063 balls dropped through tubes
072 philosopher Otto Neurath's boat: the ship must be reconstructed a bit at a time, and cannot started afresh
- 078 "curvlinear impetus" error
084 30 minute Newtonian tutorial more effective than 6 hours of Enigmo "physics" game. "microworlds quarantine"
- 109 Land bridges versus Wegener's continental drift (Abraham Ortelius in 16th century)
- 133 euphemisms for death
144 Velcro Organ vest teaches anatomy to children.
150 Vitalism: living things have "internal energi, qi
- 155 explaining nutrition to children with vitalistic explanations is more effective
- 156 Williams syndrome - normal language, low intelligence - understand classifications, not causes
- 159 essentialism innate, children understand it, but misapply it to race, class, religion, and aging
- 185 illness and disgust; disgust face is universal
- 187 hypersensitivity to contagion; labels and shapes can cause disgust
198 Think Biology classes for children
- 199 children touching facemasks during SARS
- 200 AIDS, health education, African witchcraft beliefs persist
- 202 even college educated ascribe disease to immorality
- 208 Evolution and holistic (whole species) versus selective (individual) transformations
- 211 SJ Gould "variation itself is nature's only irreducible essence"
- 213 All accept behavioral variation, children (and some adults) don't accept variation of physical traits
- 216 most animals die without offspring
- 247 Narrowly trained children interpret 4 + 3 = _ as a prompt to perform a calculation, flummoxed by _ = 4 + 3 or 4 + 3 = 1 + _
- teach mathematical equivalence first
- 250 Illusion of explanatory depth; knowing less than you think you do
- 254 measles has been eradicated, but two outbreaks infect 600 people in 2014