Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Gunter Senft

Folk Theories of Objects in Motion

There are three main strands of research which have investigated people’s intuitive knowledge of objects in motion. (1) Knowledge of the trajectories of objects in motion; (2) knowledge of the causes of motion; and (3) the categorisation of motion as to whether it has been produced by something animate or inanimate. We provide a brief introduction to each of these areas. We then point to some linguistic and cultural differences which may have consequences for people’s knowledge of objects in motion. Finally, we describe two experimental tasks and an ethnographic task that will allow us to collect data in order to establish whether, indeed, there are interesting cross-linguistic/cross-cultural differences in lay theories of objects in motion.


This Field Manual entry can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

How to cite this resource?

Majid, A., & Bödeker, K. (2003). Folk theories of objects in motion. In N. J. Enfield (Ed.), Field research manual 2003, part I: Multimodal interaction, space, event representation (pp. 72-76). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.877654.

Volume 2003 , filed under Event Representation.