Tool Innovation in Four-Year-Old Children

Bacon, Stephanie (2013). Tool Innovation in Four-Year-Old Children Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Bacon, Stephanie
Thesis Title Tool Innovation in Four-Year-Old Children
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Mark Neilson
Total pages 66
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The present study aimed to investigate two aspects of tool innovation in four-year-old children: innovation across different modalities of tool making, and whether the presence of a demonstration showing children what shape of tool is appropriate may facilitate innovation. Firstly, tool making tasks requiring subtracting one part of a tool from another were compared to tasks requiring reshaping a material into an appropriate shape. No differences were found between these two different modalities of tool innovation suggesting that children find both modalities equally challenging. Secondly, the impact of showing children what shape of tool is required to complete the task was investigated using two levels of demonstration. A full demonstration consisted of a demonstration tool, different to the tool children were required to innovate, being used to complete the goal of an apparatus. A partial demonstration was identical, however, the appropriate tool action took place on the floor next to the apparatus, and hence the goal remained unmet. While overall, no difference was found between the two demonstrations, children became increasingly likely to innovate a tool from the first trial to the fourth trial in the full demonstration condition. In contrast, innovation rates remained stable in the partial demonstration condition. This novel finding suggests that innovation may not be an all-or-none ability as suggested by previous literature, rather, that under certain conditions children may be able to become more innovative with experience and appropriate scaffolding.
Keyword Tool
Children (age groups)
4-year old children

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Created: Wed, 07 May 2014, 10:49:19 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology