Whether or not they aced it in high school, human beings are physics masters when it comes to understanding and predicting how objects in the world will behave. A Johns Hopkins University cognitive scientist has found the source of that intuition, the brain’s “physics engine.”
This engine, which comes alive when people watch physical events unfold, is not in the brain’s vision center, but in a set of regions devoted to planning actions, suggesting the brain performs constant, real-time physics calculations so people are ready to catch, dodge, hoist — any necessary actions on the fly. The findings, which could help design more nimble robots, are set to be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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