Natural paths to invention: Reinventing the wheel

Robert J. Weber, Antolin M. Llorente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Four studies explored candidate pathways underlying the invention of the "wheeled cart." In Study 1, heuristics were abstracted from subjects' judgements of different precursor paths to the wheeled cart. In Studies 2 and 3, these heuristics were tested for generality across different precursor paths. In Study 4, subjects ranked the order of incorporating parts into the wheeled cart. While the studies cannot "prove" that the wheeled cart developed in one of the candidate ways, they show that interesting and important heuristics of invention can be uncovered from subject's judgements. Examining candidate paths to important inventions is a method worthy of exploration. Together, the four studies indicate that important historical inventions might be examined experimentally. Doing so yields potentially important invention heuristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-80
Number of pages15
JournalCurrent Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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