Overcoming naïve mental models in explaining the Doppler shift: An illusion creates confusion

John G. Neuhoff, Michael McBeath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A perceptual auditory illusion is described that may contribute to students' misunderstanding of the physical principles of the Doppler shift. The illusion advances the formation of naïve mental models about the change in observed frequency that occurs as a sound source passes a stationary observer. Factors that may cause misunderstanding are addressed including the following: (i) the semantic distinctions between physical "frequency" and perceptual "pitch," (ii) the influence of dynamic loudness on pitch, and (iii) the ambiguity of the word "rise" in describing the wave mechanics of the Doppler shift. Implications for teaching the principles of the Doppler shift include addressing the origin of naïve beliefs and using the illusion as a salient and conspicuous example of a breakdown of the correspondence between physics and perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)618-621
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Volume65
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

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illusions
confusion
shift
loudness
semantics
students
ambiguity
education
breakdown
physics
acoustics
causes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Overcoming naïve mental models in explaining the Doppler shift : An illusion creates confusion. / Neuhoff, John G.; McBeath, Michael.

In: American Journal of Physics, Vol. 65, No. 7, 07.1997, p. 618-621.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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