Title

The Development of an Intuitive Understanding of Entropy

Abstract

Previous studies of the concept of entropy have indicated that before 7 to 9 years of age, children have difficulty understanding the effects of randomizing forces and often predict highly improbable events, such as a return to the original ordered state. In the present research, 306 children between 3 and 11 years of age were asked directly whether undifferentiated forces, such as the wind or objects being thrown into the air, could create order or disorder in a set of objects. The results showed that even 4-year-olds are sensitive to the asymmetrical effects of such events. Older children apply this principle more consistently and are able to use it in explaining their answers.

Publisher

Wiley

Publication Date

3-1-2001

Publication Title

Child Development

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1111/1467-8624.00290

Language

English

Format

text

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