Exploring tool innovation: a comparison of Western and Bushman children

Nielsen, Mark, Tomaselli, Keyan, Mushin, Ilana and Whiten, Andrew (2014) Exploring tool innovation: a comparison of Western and Bushman children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 126 384-394. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2014.05.008

Author Nielsen, Mark
Tomaselli, Keyan
Mushin, Ilana
Whiten, Andrew
Title Exploring tool innovation: a comparison of Western and Bushman children
Journal name Journal of Experimental Child Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0965
Publication date 2014-10-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jecp.2014.05.008
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 126
Start page 384
End page 394
Total pages 11
Place of publication Maryland Heights, MO, United States
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Subject 3204 Developmental and Educational Psychology
3205 Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
2700 Medicine
Abstract A capacity for constructing new tools, or using old tools in new ways, to solve novel problems is a core feature of what it means to be human. Yet current evidence suggests that young children are surprisingly poor at innovating tools. However, all studies of tool innovation to date have been conducted with children from comparatively privileged Western backgrounds. This raises questions as to whether or not previously documented tool innovation failure is culturally and economically specific. In the current study, thus, we explored the innovation capacities of children from Westernized urban backgrounds and from remote communities of South African Bushmen. Consistent with past research, we found tool innovation to occur at extremely low rates and that cultural background had no bearing on this. The current study is the first to empirically test tool innovation in children from non-Western backgrounds, with our data being consistent with the view that despite its key role in human evolution, a capacity for innovation in tool making remains remarkably undeveloped during early childhood.
Keyword Tool use
Social learning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 11 Jul 2014, 00:29:37 EST by Ms Katrina Hume on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures