Gary Gladding presenting at a 2014 conference for physics teachers

PER group

Our group includes members from both the Physics Department and the School of Education.

Papers and Talks

Tracking Eye-Movements in Students' Judgments of Realistic Motion


AAPT Summer Meeting: Syracuse, NY

Previous studies1-3 of students' judgments of the realism of the animated motion of two balls racing along parallel tracks of different shapes revealed dramatic differences in performance between physics-naive, and physics-knowledgeable students, with the physics-naive students much better able to judge realistic motion than were physics-knowledgeable students. One of the surprising findings from those studies was that most physics-knowledgeable students failed to detect anomalous motion (a ball speeding up while going uphill with no apparent cause) in one of the animations in which the race resulted in a tie, whereas most physics-naive students detected the anomalous motion. This study will explore the question of whether this performance difference between the groups is due to different eye-gaze patterns, or whether it is due to knowledge that the physics students bring to the task (conservation of energy) which erroneously leads them to strong expectations for a tie outcome, thereby interfering with their ability to "see" (after observing) the anomalous motion.

View the entire presentation.