Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

MS Experimental Psychology




Amy Joh, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Geodert, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Fanli Jia, Ph.D.


kinematic, peer collaboration, near transfer, far transfer


Kinematic problems, a type of physics problem that involves object motion, pose a challenge for adults (Caramazza, McCloskey, & Green, 1981; Kozhevnikov, Motes, & Hegarty, 2007; McCloskey, 1983b; McCloskey, Washburn, & Felch, 1983). Adults often incorrectly predict the path of a moving object despite having prior experience with moving objects or formal physics education (Caramazza et al., 1981; Kaiser, Jonides, & Alexander, 1986). One way to improve kinematic problem solving may be through peer collaboration. Working together with a partner to solve a problem allows both people to help each other remember important parts of a complex problem and discuss different perspectives (Dimant & Bearison, 1991; Fawcett & Garton, 2005; Kozhevnikov & Thornton, 2006; Vygotsky, 1978). The current study investigated whether peer collaboration can improve kinematic problem solving by evaluating adults’ performance on near and far transfer tasks after completing kinematic practice problems. Of special interest was the use of spatially-oriented language. Participants were assigned to one of three practice conditions: Collaborative, Alone-Talk, or Alone-Quiet. Results showed that peer collaboration did not affect performance on practice problems or near and far transfer tasks. However, analysis of spatially-oriented language revealed that specific types of language were positively correlated with accuracy on the near transfer task.