Perceptual basis of intuitive physics

Humans are exceptional at intuiting the physical world. Our intuitive sense of the physical world (intuitive physics) is particularly fastinating to me. In this project, I used machine learning models to compare how humans and machines make judgments on an object’s physical stability.

Our child and adult participants completed a gamified psychophysical task. See a practice trial below.

Each object differed in its critical angle, and there were a total of 11 distinct objects across two experiments. Participants’ responses were modeled by extracting the point of subjective equality (PSE) from the stay/fall responses.