do you really know bicycles ?
2015-07-07 16:08:32

do you really know bicycles ?
Most of people in the world know bicycles. about 50 percent of people know how to ride a bike.But for most of them, it's a primary form of transport, for others an occasional diversion.
But for just about everyone, bicycles are a familiar artifact of contemporary life — a simple device that's easy to recognize and easy to understand. Unlike a car, or even a motorcycle, a bicycle's mechanism is straightforward and on display. We can all appreciate how the bicycle pedals make the wheels turn, how steering works, and why bikes don't simply fall over. Right?
titanium pedals                     bicycle pedals
In one study, for example, 40 percent of participants (many of them psychology undergraduates who rarely cycled) made at least one of these errors: failing to recognize the correct bike frame from a set of four options; failing to recognize the correct pedal location from a set of four options; or failing to recognize the correct chain location from a set of four options.
titanium bike frame               titanium bicycle frame
To illustrate, consider the options for the correct chain location, which included an image that depicted a chain that looped around the pedals and back wheel, along with three alternatives: a chain that looped around the pedal and front wheel ; a chain that looped around the pedals and no wheels; or a chain that looped around the pedals and both wheels. Over a quarter of participants made the wrong selection in one study, and a full 43 percent in a second. A final study revealed that those with greater bicycle expertise did better but still weren't immune to errors.
Lawson's findings contribute to existing research documenting an "Illusion of Explanatory Depth" — the phenomenon whereby people tend to overestimate their understanding of how everyday objects — such as toilets, microwaves and helicopters — work. Researchers Leonid Rozenblit and Frank Keil, who originally documented the illusion, speculated that we might mistake our functional understanding of how something works for true mechanistic insight. We know that pushing the pedals makes the wheels turn, for example, but we mistakenly assume that we therefore know something about how and why.
Illusion of Explanatory Depth
Illusions of understanding may even plague scientists. As recently as 2011, new research changed scientists' understanding of how bicycles stay up and automatically steer themselves to recover from a tip. The researchers showed that neither gyroscopic precession of the front wheel nor a caster effect — the two factors that were thought to explain a bike's stability — were necessary to create a stable, self-steering bike.
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