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Abstract Title: Detecting Differences in Changes to Physics Diagrams
Abstract: Constructing a useful mental representation of physics situations is integral to success in problem solving.  It is known that experts identify/perceive meaningful patterns and/or changes in visual stimuli related to their domain of expertise.  We present data from an experiment using the "flicker" technique, in which teaching assistants for introductory physics courses, students who had finished a calculus-based mechanics course, and physics-na├»ve students viewed nearly identical pairs of diagrams that are representative of typical mechanics situations.  The two diagrams in each pair contain a subtle difference that either does, or does not change the underlying physics depicted in the diagram. We present results on how the speed of noticing physics-relevant changes in the diagram pairs depends on physics experience and discuss the cognitive implications of our findings.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Natalie E. Strand
Beckman Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: 217-722-0627
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jose P. Mestre (Departments of Physics and Educational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801)