Re: neonatal imitation

Mark Mills (
Wed, 21 Oct 98 08:24:52 -0600

Subject: Re: neonatal imitation
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 98 08:24:52 -0600
From: Mark Mills <>
To: "Memetics List" <>
Message-Id: <>


>If we go through an intense imitative phase as children, and then
>imitate very little later.....
>Where is memetics if you can't teach old dogs new tricks????

There is probably a parallel between the above common wisdom about old
dogs and the human inability to acquire new languages past the age of 20.
All mammals simply exhibit biologically determined 'windows of
opportunity' for learning.

It might help to admit that memetics is founded upon inherited features
of the neural system. Learning tricks requires a variety of neural
hardware for recognition, motivation, memorization and behavior
replication. Each feature has own developmental path and evolutionary
history. Human culture is only possible

Unfortunately, this seems to require an epistemological shift, since
inherited thought processes look a lot different in this model. Human
culture did not start with 'consciousness'.


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