Re: neonatal imitation

Thu, 22 Oct 1998 08:57:31 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: neonatal imitation
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 08:57:31 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:01:22 -0400 Bill Benzon <>

> 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.

I think I can see what you mean above, but I'm not sure how I would
detect an implicit style.

> 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
> another?

This is a good point. I need to try to split my players according to
age and/or number of years professional experience, and then see how
they differ from each other. It would be very interesting if
centre-forwards in the age group 18-21 play differently to those aged
28-30 etc....... although it might be necessary to find some way of
correcting for athletic fitness change with age, - maybe the older
players just have old legs - so I'd need to go back to matches played
when the older players were in their prime, so in fact to compare the
current 30-year-old when they were 20 with the present 20-year-olds
...... but the rest of the game is different, so the context in
which the behaviour is located is not controlled..... deriving the
correct control data set might present a problem.... but I can see
where you're driving at. Thanks!

> 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.

Yes, Miles Davises are rare in any field (including science). Of
course there is another way to look at this problem which is to look
for textual replications (a la Best). I can see how this might be done
for music, which is very much a text of sorts. I suppose if I were to
forget individual football players and start thinking about match
analysis as a textual artefact, eg. each analysed match represents a
cultural product as an array of numbers, and I'd have to look for
replicating elements within that series, that corpus, of numerical
arrays, then infer back to the actual behaviour afterwards......
Transmission is therefore simply assumed (???)

Or is it? We can see the replicating elements. Maybe it doesn't
matter how they replicate...., they just do and that's our cultural

I need to think about this. I am a little loathe to let go of the
individual as a unit of selection. I like to see indidividuals
behaving, imitating etc., but I migth be driven to textual analysis by
the nature of the data.


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