How do we as humans know how much power to use when launching an object?

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What I mean is, for example, basketball, how do we know how much power to use to make it into the basket or like when you toss a piece of trash into a bin, how do we know how much power and the angle needed to just launch it and make it in the basket. I feel like we all have tossed a piece of trash in the bin, and just instinctively know how how much power to use.

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Previous experience. Put someone on a basketball court and they will likely fail miserably making the simplest shot. Let them practice, practice, practice and they get the feel for it.

Literally trial & error. Have a 1 year old throw you a ball; they’re wildly inaccurate. 2 yr olds are better. 3 yr olds are decent. 4 year olds got it down within the range of their muscles.

I’ll assume it’s not F=MA.

After all we were throwing things well before Newton.

We don’t know. Is that an honest enough answer?

We do not understand the brain well enough to gather how it calculates highly complex trigonometry functions in real time.

Odds are it doesn’t. Mathematics is just a tool we created, not a neural network in the brain.

Here’s a question that’s similar: How do bodies of water find resting states?

If you were to understand this concept, that of conservation of energy and optimal path solution. It’d probably give you an insight into how the brain is making these calculations.

Not instinct – practice. People are not born knowing how to throw something. Through thousands of attempts at throwing things and seeing what happens, our brains develop “models”. Think of a model as a bunch of neurons connected together, so that when our brain passes some information in (distance), some other information comes out (how fast to push the ball, and at what angle). Each time we “run the pattern” our brain takes the result, and if it is wrong, changes the pattern a bit, and if it’s right, reinforces the pattern.

This is what is meant by “muscle memory”.

Our brains don’t really understand what is going on inside the pattern. It’s not calculating trigonometric equations or applying Newtons laws of motion. It’s just taking what works, and doing it again.

Trial and error. It’s really just “fuck around and find out”.

First we learn how to roll over, then sit up, crawl, walk, run, pick things up, throw stuff. Eventually, through fucking around, finding out and at least three other people, that turns into a two on two basketball game.

It’s all about muscle memory. We learn instinctively how hard to throw something to a certain height or distance. The more we practice, the more accurate we get.

We have Procedural Memory (often referred to as Muscle Memory). These are Neural Networks in your brain that are trained on previous experience (not theorical knowledge or formulas). The Brain reprocesses your short term memory to program your Procedural Memory while you are sleep (and your muscles are suppressed), running dream information through to rewire and test these new connections.