Rational tool use and tool choice in human infants and great apes.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

G. Gergely, H. Bekkering, and I. Király (2002) showed that 14-month-old infants imitate rationally, copying an adult's unusual action more often when it was freely chosen than when it was forced by some constraint. This suggests that infants understand others' intentions as rational choices of action plans. It is important to test whether apes also understand others' intentions in this way. In each of the current 3 studies, a comparison group of 14-month-olds used a tool more often when a demonstrator freely chose to use it than when she had to use it, but apes generally used the tool equally often in both conditions (orangutans were an exception). Only some apes thus show an understanding of others' intentions as rational choices of action plans.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Buttelmann, D; Carpenter, M; Call, J; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • May 2008

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 79 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 609 - 626

PubMed ID

  • 18489416

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-8624

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0009-3920

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01146.x


  • eng