Re: neonatal imitation

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 15:03:00 +0200

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 15:03:00 +0200
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: neonatal imitation

Bill Benzon wrote:

> >In my studies of football, I am having some trouble demonstrating
> >that footballers imitate each other. They exhibit stereotypical
> >behaviours which seem to be related to their position in the team,
> >but it is possible that they learn these from coaches as youngsters,
> >and then subsequent change in behaviour is largely a function of
> >their fitness and other random factors (eg. the weather on any
> >particular match day etc.).
> It seems to me you may be hung up on a difference that doesn't make a
> difference. Who cares whether a given behavior is the result of
> "spontaneous" self-initiated imitation or the result of deliberate
> instruction? In either case the behavior gets "transmitted/replicated."
> When children are taught to write they are told to imitate letter forms and
> spend hours in such exercises. Is this imitation or instruction? It seems
> to me that it's both. And it doesn't make any difference whether you
> accomplish this particular imitation by holding a pencil in your fingers or
> between your toes. What matters is the mark on the sheet of paper.

As I tried to explain in the other posting: I think it does matter according to
Sue Blackmore, because she thinks of imitation as something specifically human
(and not as a consequence of language).


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