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ERIC Number: EJ872191
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0028-3932
Chimpanzees' Context-Dependent Tool Use Provides Evidence for Separable Representations of Hand and Tool Even during Active Use within Peripersonal Space
Povinelli, Daniel J.; Reaux, James E.; Frey, Scott H.
Neuropsychologia, v48 n1 p243-247 Jan 2010
Considerable attention has been devoted to behaviors in which tools are used to perform actions in extrapersonal space by extending the reach. Evidence suggests that these behaviors result in an expansion of the body schema and peripersonal space. However, humans often use tools to perform tasks within peripersonal space that cannot be accomplished with the hands. In some of these instances (e.g., cooking), a tool is used as a substitute for the hand in order to pursue actions that would otherwise be hazardous. These behaviors suggest that even during the active use of tools, we maintain non-isomorphic representations that distinguish between our hands and handheld tools. Understanding whether such representations are a human specialization is of potentially great relevance to understand the evolutionary history of technological behaviors including the controlled use of fire. We tested six captive adult chimpanzees to determine whether they would elect to use a tool, rather than their hands, when acting in potentially hazardous vs. nonhazardous circumstances located within reach. Their behavior suggests that, like humans, chimpanzees represent the distinction between the hand vs. tool even during active use. We discuss the implications of this evidence for our understanding of tool use and its evolution. (Contains 3 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A