Cognitive, perceptual-motor and social factors in tool making in children

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2018
Gönül, Gökhan
Children are proficient tool users; however, pre-school children are not proficient in every aspect of tool-related behaviors, in particular tool making. Considering the cognitive and social abilities of humans, this thesis ultimately aims to provide a new way of looking at human tool making. In addition, it is aimed to find facilitative factors in the process of tool making in children. Based on these motivations, five experiments were conducted using the ‘hook task’, in which children could make a hook shape with the given tools in order to pull a bucket out of a tall tube to reach a sticker. Result of the Experiment-1 showed that spontaneous tool innovation was very difficult for children. However, older children were better in tool making after observing modifications socially. On the other hand, tool making after social learning was predicted by inhibition capacities of executive functions and hierarchical representational abilities. In Experiment-2 and 3, we found that while adults based tool innovation and selection on the salience of the affordance of the tools, 5 and 6-year-old children were better in the process of tool making with familiar tool-task relation. We also showed the significant role of hierarchical representation and divergent thinking in the process of tool making. In Experiment-4, we found that 5 and 6-year-old children were better in the process of tool making in the dyadic condition compared to the individual condition. In Experiment-5, we demonstrated that there was no significant difference in the process of tool making between New Zealand and Turkish children in dyadic tool making.
Citation Formats
G. Gönül, “Cognitive, perceptual-motor and social factors in tool making in children,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2018.