Re: neonatal imitation

Bill Benzon (
Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:01:22 -0400

Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:01:22 -0400
From: Bill Benzon <>
Subject: Re: neonatal imitation


> On Wed, 21 Oct 1998 08:04:54 -0500 wrote:
> Now it seems that football (soccer I should say) changes quite quickly,
> so that the game of soccer today is different to the game 10 years ago
> in many ways which I won't bore you with (match analysis again). Now
> this would imply that evolution is faster than our second alternative
> above.

1. It seems possible that there are many styles of play implicit in the game
one learns in one's youth. The rapid evolution of the game then implies that
some of these implicit styles are being realized.

2. As the game moves from one generation to the next I'd assume that there is
a turnover in players. How many of the players of today were playing 10 years
ago? To what extent are we dealing with changes made by players during the
course of their careers vs. the replacement of one cohort of players by

In the case of music, my sense is that jazz produced major stylistic changes
decade by decade through the 1960s. However, most players stayed with the
style they'd learned in their youth. The innovators, of course, were taught
one style and then made their innovations in their 20s. And once they did the
innovation, they pretty much stuck with the style they created, remaining
unaffected by the next cohort of innovators.

> I'm still groping around getting to grips with this data set, but I am
> beginning to think that there may be a two-speed system. First, there
> are the basics of the game, learned by schoolboys from coaches and
> older players. This core of skills stays with a player throughout his
> (and of course also her) life. But then on top of that it would seem
> that there must be some faster transmission system of behavioural
> information - otherwise the game would evolve much more slowly. But I
> can't see it in my data.

So maybe you aren't getting all the relevant data?

> It's not obviously dropping out as a
> statistically significant effect....

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