If you could have any sort of kitchen utensil for a hand, what would it be?  I would pick the tongs because they imitate the action of thumbs better than any other kitchen utensil and you could probably continue to use them for nearly anything else in the kitchen as well.  That being said, I would generally prefer to stick with the hands I currently have in my body schema.

A schema is a form for organizing ideas or concepts.  Everyone has different schemas for different things.  Recent research in Current Biology took a look at how people’s body concepts or schemas change when they use tools and found that people incorporate the tools into their body schema.  When people describe driving a car as feeling like “they were a part of it” that may not be so far from the actual fact.   This may explain why humans were so adept evolutionarily at developing and using tools.  I wonder if research would find similar results for other primates.

Cell Press (2009, June 24). Brain Represents Tools As Temporary Body Parts, Study Confirms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 27, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/06/090622121232.htm

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