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Tool innovation may be a critical limiting step for the establishment of a rich tool-using culture: A perspective from child development

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2012

Sarah R. Beck
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom. s.r.beck@bham.ac.uki.a.apperly@bham.ac.uknxc945@bham.ac.ukwww.birmingham.ac.uk/psychology
Jackie Chappell
Affiliation:
School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom. j.m.chappell@bham.ac.ukwww.birmingham.ac.uk/biosciences
Ian A. Apperly
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom. s.r.beck@bham.ac.uki.a.apperly@bham.ac.uknxc945@bham.ac.ukwww.birmingham.ac.uk/psychology
Nicola Cutting
Affiliation:
School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom. s.r.beck@bham.ac.uki.a.apperly@bham.ac.uknxc945@bham.ac.ukwww.birmingham.ac.uk/psychology

Abstract

Recent data show that human children (up to 8 years old) perform poorly when required to innovate tools. Our tool-rich culture may be more reliant on social learning and more limited by domain-general constraints such as ill-structured problem solving than otherwise thought.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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References

Beck, S. R., Apperly, I. A., Chappell, J., Guthrie, C. & Cutting, N. (2011) Making tools isn't child's play. Cognition 119:301306.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bird, C. D. & Emery, N. J. (2009) Insightful problem solving and creative tool modification by captive nontool-using rooks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106:10370–75.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cutting, N., Apperly, I. A., Beck, S. R. (2011) Why do children lack the mental flexibility to innovate tools? Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 109:497511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cutting, N., Beck, S. R. & Apperly, I. A. (under review) Is there a complexity hierarchy in human children's tool making?Google Scholar
Dumontheil, I., Burgess, P. W. & Blakemore, S. J. (2008) Development of rostral prefrontal cortex and cognitive and behavioral disorders. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 50:168–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Tool innovation may be a critical limiting step for the establishment of a rich tool-using culture: A perspective from child development
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