The effect of weight distribution and previous experience on tool use training in infancy
Many different factors play a role in the development of an infant’s ability to use tools. A previous version of the current study examined active versus observational learning on an infant’s ability to be trained to use a novel tool to succeed in a test task. The results showed that both types of learning appeared to be equally effective. This follow-up study added a second factor to examine the effects of training when there is a characteristic about the tool that cannot be determined through visual observation. This time the novel tool had an unexpected weight distribution making the straight handle of the tool much heavier than the round handle. This study showed that the uneven weight distribution of the tool actually resulted in infants having a higher overall success rates during test than in the previous version of the study. This suggests that the uneven weight distribution may have focused infant’s attention on how they were holding the tool therefore increasing their ability to success on the test task.