Neurocognitive bases of tool use
Dr François OSIURAKa, Dr Christophe JARRYb, Dr Frédérique ETCHARRY-BOUYXc, Prof Didier LE GALLd
a Laboratoire d'Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs, Université de Lyon, b Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire, Université d'Angers, c CHU d'Angers, Département de Neurologie; Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire, Université d'Angers, d Laboratoire de Psychologie des Pays de la Loire, Université d'Angers; CHU d'Angers, Département de Neurologie
Tool use is a defining feature of human species. So, the issue of the underlying neurocognitive bases should be at the heart of psychologists’ and neuroscientists’ concerns. Yet, since the beginning of scientific psychology in the late 20th century, this issue has received very little interest. One potential reason for this lack of interest is the profound belief that tool use is first and foremost based on sensorimotor knowledge about how to use tools, as if tool use did not require any intellectual or reasoning skills, but only the hands. This belief has inspired, and still does, the major neuropsychological models of apraxia of tool use. This talk aims to describe the main recent advances in psychology and cognitive neurosciences that have contributed to revise the idea that manipulation is central to tool use, and have led to the formulation of new theoretical models suggesting that specific reasoning skills are involved in tool use. I will present the theoretical framework useful for the two other talks of this session, which will be further concerned with the issue of how to assess tool use disorders in brain-damaged patients (e.g., stroke, Alzheimer’s disease).
Keywords : Apraxia; Tool use; Gesture; Action