viewArticle #22090
NeuroBiography: A database of cognitive neuroscientists' lives & work
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St Amant R, Horton TE (2008) Revisiting the definition of animal tool use. Animal Behaviour, 75(4):1199-1208    
Benjamin Beck's definition of tool use has served the field of animal cognition well for over 25 years (Beck 1980, Animal Tool Behavior: the Use and Manufacture of Tools, New York, Garland STPM). This article proposes a new, more explanatory definition that accounts for tool use in terms of two complementary subcategories of behaviours: behaviours aimed at altering a target object by mechanical means and behaviours that mediate the flow of information between the tool user and the environment or other organisms in the environment. The conceptual foundation and implications of the new definition are contrasted with those of existing definitions, particularly Beck's. The new definition is informally evaluated with respect to a set of scenarios that highlights differences from Beck's definition as well as those of others in the literature
Projects: Tool-use;