I Know Something You Don’t Know: Twenty-Month-Olds’ Tool use Learning from Exploration and Social Interaction
Hirtle, Jane Anne Trapp
Previous research on the development of infant tool use learning in the second year of life has provided contrary evidence as to how infants select among differentially effective tools following independent exploration, demonstration by an adult, or a combination of both. This experiment provided 20-month-old infants with the opportunity to explore a pegboard toy with a tool before witnessing a model’s demonstration of another tool. Half of the infants explored with a highly effective hard tool, while the other half explored with a less effective soft tool. Following this exploration, infants observed an adult demonstrate the tool they had not used themselves. Finally, infants were tested on their ability to select between these tools and succeed in hammering pegs with their chosen tool. Results clarify the interactive roles of independent exploration and reliance on social-pedagogical cues for imitation in the development of tool use in human children.