The developmental origins of tool innovation (2014–2017)
Solving new problems by making new tools, or using old tools in new ways, is a hallmark of our species. Theoretical and experimental enquiry into children's developing socio-cognitive abilities conflicts with recent research suggesting young children are poor tool innovators. This project will be the first to confidently disambiguate our knowledge about whether children are capable of tool innovation by systematically investigating their abilities using a new comprehensive battery of tasks, novel test conditions and the integration of data from industrialised and indigenous communities in Australia and Southern Africa. This research will provide the broadest insights yet into the development of a key feature of the human condition.