Object Play and Tool Use: Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives

David F. Bjorklund and Amy K. Gardiner

in The Oxford Handbook of the Development of Play

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195393002
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Object Play and Tool Use: Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives

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We take an evolutionary developmental perspective to examine the development of and sex differences in object-oriented play and tool use and the relationship between the two. We propose that children have intuitive notions about the physical world and evolved biases to interact with objects, both of which facilitate object-oriented play. Through the experience gained in object play, children begin to understand how objects can be used as tools to achieve goals and solve problems. Although complex tool use is a distinct characteristic of humans, a wide range of other species, including many primates, engage in simpler forms of tool use. While many of these instances are probably cases of convergent evolution, the existence of tool use in other great apes suggests a common root for our basic tool-use abilities.

Keywords: Object-oriented play; tool use; sex differences; social learning; evolutionary developmental psychology; affordances; design stance

Article.  15199 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Developmental Psychology

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