Throughout the history of humankind, it hasn’t been uncommon to see humans supporting each other in heinous acts. Some of us supported slavery. Some of us supported the Nazis. One might say that our predecessors were relatively uneducated, and that we’ve now learnt from the mistakes we’ve made. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
March 18, 2021
Why do we imitate? As babies, we imitate to make sense of the physical world around us. I recently came across a fascinating study where an adult touched a light panel with his head to illuminate it, and some observing 18-month-olds performed this novel act even after a 1-week delay. Once we have passed this phase, we imitate for a few reasons. Firstly on the utilitarian side, imitation helps us bypass trial-and-error processes, to make learning much more efficient. Secondly on the social side, we imitate to be socially accepted. As they say, “monkey see, monkey do”. I’ll be focusing on the social aspect of imitation in this essay.
January 24, 2021