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Object use in childhood: development and possible functions

Object use in childhood: development and possible functions

Pellegrini, Anthony (2013) Object use in childhood: development and possible functions. Behaviour, 150 (8). pp. 813-843. ISSN 0005-7959 (Print), 1568-539X (Online) (doi:

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The ways in which children use objects is central to many theories of development, yet we lack systematic descriptions of the various ways in which objects are used across childhood. In this paper, I first describe the different forms of object use (i.e., exploration, construction, play, tool use and tool making) for males and females in childhood, then establish time budgets for each type of object use. Second, I make functional inferences about each form of object use and the social contexts in which each is embedded. I suggest that putative functions of object play, specifically, may be related to children’s discovery of novel uses for objects, as well as peer group centrality in abundant niches. These dynamics produce a connected social network in which object play and group structure might interact to spread novel ideas.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: object play, tool use and making, construction, creativity, dominance, social transmission, exploration
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Health & Social Care
School of Health & Social Care > Department of Psychology & Counselling
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:25

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