Preschool children's use of perceptual-motor knowledge and hierarchical representational skills for tool making

GÖNÜL G. , Takmaz E., Hohenberger A.

ACTA PSYCHOLOGICA, vol.220, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 220
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2021.103415
  • Title of Journal : ACTA PSYCHOLOGICA
  • Keywords: Tool making and innovation, Familiarity, Perceptual-motor knowledge, Social learning, Ideomotor approach, Hierarchical complexity, FUNCTIONAL FIXEDNESS, COGNITIVE ONTOGENY, PRIOR EXPERIENCE, INNOVATION, LANGUAGE, IDEOMOTOR, EMERGENCE, EVOLUTION, CULTURE, FLEXIBILITY


Although other animals can make simple tools, the expanded and complex material culture of humans is unprecedented in the animal kingdom. Tool making is a slow and late-developing ability in humans, and preschool children find making tools to solve problems very challenging. This difficulty in tool making might be related to the lack of familiarity with the tools and may be overcome by children's long term perceptual-motor knowledge. Thus, in this study, the effect of tool familiarity on tool making was investigated with a task in which 5-to-6-yearold children (n = 75) were asked to remove a small bucket from a vertical tube. The results show that children are better at tool making if the tool and its relation to the task are familiar to them (e.g., soda straw). Moreover, we also replicated the finding that hierarchical complexity and tool making were significantly related. Results are discussed in light of the ideomotor approach.