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Displacement and distance

Displacement

Displacement is the change in an object's position.

The displacement of an object is defined as its change in position (final position minus initial position). Displacement has a magnitude and direction and is therefore a vector. For example, if the initial position of a car is x i and it moves to a final position of x f , then the displacement is:

x f - x i

However, subtracting an initial quantity from a final quantity happens often in Physics, so we use the shortcut Δ to mean final - initial . Therefore, displacement can be written:

Δ x = x f - x i
The symbol Δ is read out as delta . Δ is a letter of the Greek alphabet and is used in Mathematics and Science to indicate a change in a certain quantity, or a final value minus an initial value. For example, Δ x means change in x while Δ t means change in t .
The words initial and final will be used very often in Physics. Initial will always refer to something that happened earlier in time and final will always refer to something that happened later in time. It will often happen that the final value is smaller than the initial value, such that the difference is negative. This is ok!
Illustration of displacement

Displacement does not depend on the path travelled, but only on the initial and final positions ( [link] ). We use the word distance to describe how far an object travels along a particular path. Distance is the actual distance that was covered. Distance (symbol d ) does not have a direction, so it is a scalar. Displacement is the shortest distance from the starting point to the endpoint – from the school to the shop in the figure. Displacement has direction and is therefore a vector.

[link] shows the five houses we discussed earlier. Jack walks to school, but instead of walking straight to school, he decided to walk to his friend Joel's house first to fetch him so that they can walk to school together. Jack covers a distance of 400 m to Joel's house and another 500 m to school. He covers a distance of 900 m . His displacement, however, is only 100 m towards the school. This is because displacement only looks at the starting position (his house) and the end position (the school). It does not depend on the path he travelled.

To calculate his distance and displacement, we need to choose a reference point and a direction. Let's choose Jack's house as the reference point, and towards Joel's house as the positive direction (which means that towards the school is negative). We would do the calculations as follows:

Distance ( d ) = path travelled = 400 m + 500 m = 900 m
Displacement ( Δ x ) = x f - x i = - 100 m + 0 m = - 100 m

Joel walks to school with Jack and after school walks back home. What is Joel's displacement and what distance did he cover? For this calculation we use Joel's house as the reference point. Let's take towards the school as the positive direction.

Distance ( d ) = path travelled = 500 m + 500 m = 1000 m
Displacement ( Δ x ) = x f - x i = 0 m + 0 m = 0 m

It is possible to have a displacement of 0 m and a distance that is not 0 m . This happens when an object completes a round trip back to its original position, like an athlete running around a track.

Interpreting direction

Very often in calculations you will get a negative answer. For example, Jack's displacement in the example above, is calculated as - 100 m . The minus sign in front of the answer means that his displacement is 100 m in the opposite direction (opposite to the direction chosen as positive in the beginning of the question). When we start a calculation we choose a frame of reference and a positive direction. In the first example above, the reference point is Jack's house and the positive direction is towards Joel's house. Therefore Jack's displacement is 100 m towards the school. Notice that distance has no direction, but displacement has.

Differences between distance and displacement

Vectors and Scalars

A vector is a physical quantity with magnitude (size) and direction. A scalar is a physical quantity with magnitude (size) only.

The differences between distance and displacement can be summarised as:

Distance Displacement
1. depends on the path 1. independent of path taken
2. always positive 2. can be positive or negative
3. is a scalar 3. is a vector
4. does not have a direction 4. has a direction

Point of reference

  1. Use [link] to answer the following questions.
    1. Jill walks to Joan's house and then to school, what is her distance and displacement?
    2. John walks to Joan's house and then to school, what is his distance and displacement?
    3. Jack walks to the shop and then to school, what is his distance and displacement?
    4. What reference point did you use for each of the above questions?
  2. You stand at the front door of your house (displacement, Δ x = 0 m ). The street is 10 m away from the front door. You walk to the street and back again.
    1. What is the distance you have walked?
    2. What is your final displacement?
    3. Is displacement a vector or a scalar? Give a reason for your answer.

Questions & Answers

Hi, I have a question. What factors influence social facilitation and social inhibition in groups?
Amritpal Reply
it really depends on that person on how the can task in life either they can work better with other people or you do worse working with people.
Lametra
the task
Lametra
they task
Lametra
Do you know of any studies done to show social facilitation and social inhibition
Amritpal
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Qwanta Reply
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Amritpal Reply
Then welcome dearest
Bridget
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Amritpal
thank you
Ana
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Philip Reply
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Junalyn Reply
o sorry madm
Rai
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Rai
I m also student.
Rai
hi
Kavya
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Dhanaraj
I'm new too
Deniz
As in the the specialisation or ?
Bridget
good morning
Ana
understanding human nature is what we are going to talk about.
Ana
okay, go ahead
Philip
“ Every child is left to evaluate his experiences for himself, and to take care of his own personal development outside the classroom. There is no tradition for the acquisition of a true knowledge of the human psyche. The science of human nature thus finds itself today in the position that chemis
Ana
well, I think every individual is different and to a great extent we can't say confidently that we understand the human nature in its entirety
Philip
lack determines what we will become in life?.
Ana
Not 100% but it plays a huge role
Philip
Hi! I wasn't aware there was a chat feature on this app 😊
Ophelia
👍Philip Anyaegbu
Ana
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Ana
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Ana
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Philip
alternatively we are different, we have basic similar qualities
Bridget
Yes true Bridget.
Philip
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Ciel
Hi
Philip
hi
Ej
hi
KUNDAN
hi
Ana
who we are how we think what we do insight
Ana
@ bridget. yes that's true
Ana
Ana ioanidis? do you speak Greek?
Qwanta
Qwanta no I dont speak Greek my husband does
Ana
are you a psychologist? or your husband?
Qwanta
I need some reliable informations about my studies...
Qwanta
not a psychologist
Ana
I ask questions
Ana
so what is the cause why a person experiences a psychological disorder if it not of their own?
Junalyn Reply
it's partly genetics,culture, environment and substance abuse. generally these are the common factors which can lead to most of the disorders
war
waoo
Rai
r u proficcer
Rai
u r psychology subject
Rai
not a professor but a clinical psychologist
war
can i ask you, i keep getting headache, and had a history of hypothyroid ans diagnosed as having mild anxiety disorder. i want to finish. my undergraduate psychology thesis.. but always unable to have good ambition and energy to focus on writing the case and the theories... whats the best remedy
Astaroxche
had a headache and have a history
Ana
how many disorders are there
Janareon Reply
interesting question
Mahmoud
it is😅
Nelly
I'm guessing it's in the tens of thousands, maybe hundreds if you include counter interactions and stuff like it. although I'm sure it's almost impossible to know for sure, unless you're very rich and connected to the right people. but as I said: guessing.
Beenie
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are: clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal. that is what I think
Mahmoud
too difficult to number. diagnosing a disorder is just checking off boxes on a compilation of symptoms that might match any particular condition on the DSM
what is psychology of the guest
Lirilong Reply
I don't understand the question can you elaborate?
Edgar
the study of philosophy gives to the sociologist
Aman Reply
why women are viewed as far more emotional than men?
Wario Reply
because they actually are ,I guess.
Collins
May be they are biologically milder than man. It does not mean they are not equal with man. Man can also be emotional and can are oppressed with traditional norms. For example, man are not to be cry, in actual man are also emotional being and they cannot have the right to show their sentiment.
shine
sollungal bro sollungal...
Balaji
because of she has hormonal fluctuations than men..
bavi
usually women are more emotional than men and they are multi talented people
lavanya
Both men and women are capable of expressing emotions. But women has the highest percentage of doing that. Because our society is conditioned by nature in such a way that men are expected to suppress their emotions and motivate them through their acts or thoughts, which has it's side effects of....
Santos
denial of any emotion which they feel that useless at that point. Women in the other hand were encouraged/not controlled to suppress their emotions and let them out what they feel about it. I feel that's the wonderful superpower of the women.
Santos
y
Mahmoud
Men's emotion comes mostly with memories triggered by senses. That means, they thoughts have the power to decide whether to let go of emotions or not.
Santos
Q
Mark
because women tend to be more agreeable than men.
Edgar
women at a young age are conditioned to be more in tune with emotion than man should be less
David
The question is "Why women Viewed are as far more emotional than men ?" it's not a question whether women are more emotional than men. This is more an issue about the point of view from the observer, his/her assumption what emotional behavior is or what emotional behavior is.
Mehmet
The anwers are answers more to the question " Are women more emotional than men?"
Mehmet
hi are you on what'sap
Wunuji Reply
no not really a fan of social laziness
Robert
huh
Parmizan
is there any way for a Btech E.C.E. graduate to take on MSC. PSYCHOLOGY
devesh
ya you can just by cracking entrance , if in India
Mansi
Any stream in UG can go for M.Sc (Psychology)
classification of traits and how they are measured
chinedu Reply
what was Freud's first name?
Robin Reply
Sigmund
Dentriodite
sigmund
Margie
Sigismund Schlomo Freud
Mohammad
Sigmund Freud
Talal
sigmund
Ankita
Leon Vygotsky and Sergei Rubenstein please tell me contributions of these personalities in in 4 lines
Uzma
sigmund Freud
Harpreet
Lev Vygotsky was the founder of socio-cultural theory
Jo
So psychology was based off of the Greek gods I that right or no?
Tanya Reply
psychology is the study. anything -ology is the study of a certain field. Psyche is a mortal woman who becomes divine in Greek mythology. The etymology of the word "psyche" in Greek means "spirit" or "soul"
seriously there is no scope of psychology all over the world.i hear those how have psychology degrees they have no careers
Madeeha Reply
psychology degree is the waste of time qnd waste of money.is this true?...
Madeeha
at least you know people's minds
Mahmoud
hummmmm
Blaq
well, i like this subject for helping myself and others as well, not for the scope or anything. and i think we shouldn't liberate everything on the basis of outcomes etc
Natasha
Ye
Isaiah
very useful skill
Isaiah
It is not at all true that people who have psychology degree have no career scope
Aaprajita
If u complete your M.Phil then you can work in hospitals as a clinical psychologist.You can also work in school, colleges and IT companies as a counsellor or clinical psychologist.
Aaprajita
yes
aravinth
people are so stressful and tense, and they need a psychologist
aravinth
yo fr tbh lol
Isaiah
if some one have only master degree in psychology what will he/she do...where he/she utilizes degree
Madeeha
Not if you have set goals and a plan. Look into what careers are available with your degree where you live. Also it helps to have a specialty along with your psychology degree. For example a Bachelor's degree in Psychology of Science in Addictions allows for you to become an addictions counselor.
Jo
Psychology is really a valuable degree. I would like to become an "EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST "
there is no proper society of Psychology. so it doesn't get a good exposure in our country. we along with whole student need to discuss and approach to government
Shekhar
Psychology is not only a diverse field but also one that is expected to grow tremendously in the years to come. As a subject dealing with the study of the human psyche or mind, psychology finds applications across all avenues of life, be it family, work, relationships, sports, corporate spaces
Clinical Psychology As is suggestive, this branch of psychology is associated to the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders in humans. Clinical psychologists help people facing difficulties in their life to get through it using different treatment methods and therapies.
These professionals work with hospitals, NGOs and even drug rehabilitation centers. As people become increasingly aware of different psychological disorders with time, the need for experts in clinical psychology is only expected to grow.
Counseling Psychology Counseling psychology is a branch of psychology that helps solve people’s personal and interpersonal issues. These issues can be problematic but are different from serious mental health issues. Counseling psychologists or counselors help people deal with such issues when they
fail to do it on their own.Career counseling, guidance counseling, marital counseling and rehabilitation counseling are among the many applications of counseling psychology. These professionals either manage their own counseling set-ups or work with therapycenters, career centers, NGOs as well as
schools and universities. Industrial or Organizational Psychology Organizational psychologists are professionals who apply the principles of psychology in organizations or workplaces. They analyze the issues of the workplace at individual as well as organizational level, and work towards resolving
them to enhance the efficiency of the employees. Those specializing in organizational psychology can choose to work as – • Human resource development specialists • HR managers • Organizational consultants With increasing pressure and stress levels at work places, the need for emotional understandi
understanding and gauging social intelligence has become stronger. Child Psychology (Development psychology) Development psychology is a branch of psychology that is dedicated to studying the psychological development of human beings over the course of their lifetime. Child psychology is one of
the more popular variants of development psychology, and deals with emotional, cognitive, social and psychomotor development in infants and children. Child psychologists work with schools, child therapy centers and also NGOs. They also play big roles in special education centers for children.
Sports Psychology This branch of psychology deals with the study of elements that influence an athlete’s performance. These elements or factors could be emotional, cognitive, psychological or motivational. Sports psychologists can go on to work with sports coaching centers, leagues, academies or
sports teams. Sports psychologists aid sportspersons to stay in their best mental forms, thus improving their performances on the ground. With the frenzy regarding sports in India, sports psychology is a promising career to pursue.
Forensic Psychology Forensic psychology offers a unique opportunity to apply psychology to the benefit of legal organizations, especially pertaining to specific contents or witness testimony. Professionals in this field utilize their skills to look deep into the psyche of criminals and figure out
the intent behind the crime. This helps define the quantum and nature of sentence to be rendered. With the onset of new legal era, forensic psychology is expected to influence policy making.
SO,THESE ARE THE CAREER SCOPE IN THE FIELD OF PSYCHOLOGY👥
psychology and the jobs in psychology are the ever growing fields. there are number of jobs available. but, yes, one needs the right qualification, such as, MPhil, PhD, NET, etc.
Paul
No. Psychology has a great scope all over world
Talal
Because of 90% people has stress or anxiety or any other mental problem. So they have a need of Psychologist.
Talal
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Aug 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11245/1.3
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