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Title: On the developmental origins of human material culture
Author: Reindl, Eva Maria
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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Material culture – tools, technology, and instrumental skills – has allowed humans to live in almost every habitat on earth. This thesis investigates the developmental roots of human material culture by examining basic tool-use skills and cultural learning abilities in young children. The introduction presents the concepts of the Zone of Latent Solutions (Tennie, Call, & Tomasello, 2009), cumulative culture, and Vygotsky’s (1978) theories as the theoretical background for the following five experiments. Chapter 2 identifies a list of tool-use behaviours that children can invent individually and thus represent an ontogenetic and phylogenetic basis of human tool culture. Chapter 3 extends this list by several behaviours involving the use of two tools in combination (Associative tool use). Chapter 4 focuses on a cultural behaviour that children can only acquire socially. It uses an adapted version of the spaghetti tower task (Caldwell & Millen, 2008a) to study whether children can copy a material cultural product that they could not have invented on their own and whether they can do so without action information. Chapter 5 uses the same task to investigate whether groups of children can produce a ratchet effect. The discussion summarizes the findings and presents limitations and directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology