Tool use and NeuroCognition
6th of January 2015, 2:00pm - 3:00pm
PCRI building (650), Room 445 (How to get there ?)
Since the appearance of symbolic reasoning (e.g., language skills) in human lineage, Man has largely overlooked the physical reasoning abilities involved in tool use. A good illustration of this lack of attention is the implicit hierarchy of intellectual work over manual work, as if tool use did not require any kind of specific intelligence or reasoning. This belief is also deeply ingrained in the minds of scholars and scientists alike. For instance, since more than a century, neuropsychological models have assumed that knowledge about manipulation is central to tool use (the manipulation-based approach). This knowledge is supposed to be stored within the left inferior parietal lobe (IPL). By contrast, a more recent perspective, initiated by Goldenberg in the 2000’s, assumes that, to use tools, people reason about the physical object properties in order to generate mechanical actions (the reasoning-based approach). This reasoning would be supported by mechanical knowledge located in the left IPL. Historically, these two approaches have been developed from data obtained in left brain-damaged patients. The goal of the talk is to (1) give an overview of the two aforementioned approaches and (2) reanalyze neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging data of the two past decades to examine their predictions. Globally, we demonstrate that the left inferior parietal cortex is involved in the understanding of tool-use actions, providing support for the reasoning-based approach.