Infants' Anticipations and Grasps of Familiar and Unfamiliar Tools
Infants must learn how to use many tools in order to engage in a variety of daily tasks. An unpublished pilot study in our lab suggests that 6.5 to 8.5-month-old infants fixated more on the handle of a familiar tool than 3- to 5-month-olds (Hirtle, Strouse, Borten, & Needham, 2007). The current study aimed to extend this prior research by also obtaining measures of infants’ grasping behaviors on tools. Infants were more likely to make anticipations of the hand reaching for the handle of the peeler than the handle of the spoon, and were also more likely to make anticipations of the hand reaching for the usable portion of the spoon than the handle portion of the spoon. The only reliable predictor of infants’ first grasp location on the tools was age, with 12.5-month-olds more reliably grasping the handle of an adult spoon. Results are discussed in terms of the experiences they have had with these tools and how they interpret those experiences.