What's So Special about Human Tool Use?

  title={What's So Special about Human Tool Use?},
  author={Scott H. Johnson-Frey},

Figures from this paper

The Representation of Tool Use in Humans and Monkeys: Common and Uniquely Human Features
While the observation of a grasping hand activated similar regions in humans and monkeys, an additional specific sector of IPL devoted to tool use has evolved in Homo sapiens, although tool-specific neurons might reside in the monkey grasping regions.
From action to language: comparative perspectives on primate tool use, gesture and the evolution of human language
The papers in this Special Issue examine tool use and manual gestures in primates as a window on the evolution of the human capacity for language. Neurophysiological research has supported the
Tool use, communicative gesture and cerebral asymmetries in the modern human brain
  • S. Frey
  • Psychology, Biology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2008
It is argued here that the ways in which humans skilfully use tools and other manipulable artefacts is possible owing to adaptations that integrate sensory–motor and cognitive processes.
Perception meets action: fMRI and behavioural investigations of human tool use
Grasping actions typical of how tools are normally grasped during use were found to preferentially activate occipitotemporal areas, including areas specialized for visual object recognition, which is likely to represent an important source of inputs to visuomotor areas as to learned conceptual knowledge of tool use.
Cortical Networks Related to Human Use of Tools
  • JamesW. Lewis
  • Psychology, Biology
    The Neuroscientist : a review journal bringing neurobiology, neurology and psychiatry
  • 2006
This review compares and summarizes results from 64 paradigms published over the past decade that have examined cortical regions associated with tool use skills and tool knowledge and revealed cortical networks in both hemispheres, though with a clear left hemisphere bias.
The Anterior Temporal Cortex in Action
This work identified neural representations about how tools are typically manipulated within left anterior temporal cortex by shifting a searchlight classifier through whole-brain fMRI data when participants grasped 3D-printed tools in ways considered typical for use (i.e., by their handle).
The cognitive bases of human tool use
  • K. Vaesen
  • Psychology
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences
  • 2012
It is concluded that human tool use still marks a major cognitive discontinuity between us and the authors' closest relatives and the evolution of human technologies.
Tools for the body (schema)


Coding of modified body schema during tool use by macaque postcentral neurones.
Macaque monkeys are trained to retrieve distant objects using a rake, and neuronal activity was recorded in the caudal postcentral gyrus where the somatosensory and visual signals converge, and a large number of bimodal neurones appeared to code the schema of the hand.
Motor and cognitive functions of the ventral premotor cortex
Origins of knowledge.
These experiments suggest that cognition develops concurrently with perception and action and that development leads to the enrichment of conceptions around an unchanging core.
Functional Brain Mapping of Monkey Tool Use
When using a tool, we can perceive a psychological association between the tool and the body parts-the tool is incorporated into our "body-image." During tool use, visual response properties of
The Cortical Motor System
Selective Activation of a Parietofrontal Circuit during Implicitly Imagined Prehension
The results show that in contrast to preparation of overt actions, preparation of either hand for covert movement simulation activates a large network of motor-related areas located primarily within the left cerebral and right cerebellar hemispheres, which concludes that motor imagery involves action-specific motor representations computed in parietofrontal circuits.
Intentional maps in posterior parietal cortex.
The posterior parietal cortex (PPC), historically believed to be a sensory structure, is now viewed as an area important for sensory-motor integration. Among its functions is the forming of
Tool use and mechanical problem solving in apraxia
A fronto‐parietal circuit for object manipulation in man: evidence from an fMRI‐study
It is suggested that a fronto‐parietal circuit for manipulation of objects exists in humans and involves basically the same areas as in the monkey and it is proposed that area SII analyses the intrinsic object characteristics whilst the superior parietal lobule is related to kinaesthesia.
Neuroimaging of cognitive functions in human parietal cortex