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Folk Physics for ApesThe Chimpanzee's theory of how the world works$
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Daniel Povinelli

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198572190

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.001.0001

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The flimsy-tool problem

The flimsy-tool problem

Chapter:
(p.163) Chapter 7 THE FLIMSY-TOOL PROBLEM
Source:
Folk Physics for Apes
Author(s):

Daniel J. Povinelli

James E. Reaux

Laura A. Teall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198572190.003.0007

This chapter reports the results of several studies that examined whether chimpanzees possessed a conceptual understanding of the relation between the rigidity of a tool and its ability to move an object. To this end, apes were confronted with two similar rakes: one of which had a rigid base that could easily drag an apple to within their reach, and the other of which had a flimsy, pliant base that could not move the apple. After allowing apes to play with these rakes freely for several sessions, researchers introduced the rakes into a formal testing situation to determine if the animals would select the one that could successfully retrieve the apple.

Keywords:   rakes, tool rigidity, conceptual understanding

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