Tool use ability depends on understanding of functional dynamics

Tool use ability depends on understanding of functional dynamics and not specific joint contribution profiles.

Researchers in cognitive neuroscience have become increasingly interested in how different aspects of tool use are integrated and represented by the brain. Comparatively less attention has been directed toward tool use actions themselves and how effective tool use behaviors are coordinated. In response, we take this opportunity to consider the mechanical principles of tool use actions and their relationship to motor learning. Using kinematic analysis, we examine both functional dynamics and joint contribution profiles of subjects with different levels of experience in a primordial percussive task. Our results show that the ability to successfully produce stone flakes using the Oldowan method did not correspond with any particular joint contribution profile. Rather, expertise in this tool use action was principally associated with the subject’s ability to regulate the functional parameters that define the task itself.

Ross Parry, Gilles Dietrich and Blandine Bril

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