Carnegie Mellon University
July 20, 2016

How Your Brain Learns Physics

By Jordana Cepelewicz

"Early Homo sapiens wasn't acquainted with Einstein's general theory of relativity, yet anyone in a physics class today is expected to understand its basic tenets. “How is it that our ancient brains can learn new sciences and represent abstract concepts?” asks Marcel Just, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University. In a study published in June in Psychological Science, Just and his colleague Robert Mason found that thinking about physics prompts common brain-activation patterns and that these patterns are everyday neural capabilities—used for processing rhythm and sentence structure, for example—that were repurposed for learning abstract science..."