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ERIC Number: EJ1118190
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
The Development of Tool Use: Planning for End-State Comfort
Comalli, David M.; Keen, Rachel; Abraham, Evelyn S.; Foo, Victoria J.; Lee, Mei-Hua; Adolph, Karen E.
Developmental Psychology, v52 n11 p1878-1892 Nov 2016
Some grips on the handle of a tool can be planned on the basis of information directly available in the scene. Other grips, however, must be planned on the basis of the final position of the hand. "End-state comfort" grips require an awkward or uncomfortable initial grip so as to later implement the action comfortably and efficiently. From a cognitive perspective, planning for end-state comfort requires a consistent representation of the entire action sequence, including the latter part, which is not based on information directly available in the scene. Many investigators have found that young children fail to demonstrate planning for end-state comfort and that adultlike performance does not appear until about 12 years of age. In 2 experiments, we used a hammering task that engaged children in a goal-directed action with multiple steps. We assessed end-state-comfort planning in novel ways by measuring children's hand choice, grip choice, and tool implementation over multiple trials. The hammering task also uniquely allowed us to assess the efficiency of implementation. We replicated the previous developmental trend in 4-, 8-, and 12-year-old children with our novel task. Most important, our data revealed that 4-year-olds are in a transitional stage during which several competing strategies were exhibited during a single session. Preschoolers changed their grip within trials and across trials, indicating awareness of errors and a willingness to sacrifice speed for more efficient implementation. The end-state-comfort grip initially competes as one grip type among many but gradually displaces all others. Children's sensitivity to costs and drive for efficiency may motivate this change.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R37HD33486