Chapter 2: Imitation

1. What psycho-physical process is operative in most people to a high degree, as compared to other fundamental processes?

2. What factor plays a great part in the development, growth and use of our psycho-physical selves?

3. With what does this book deal?

4. Wherein lies the cause of the disappointing and harmful results which follow imitation?

5. What is the danger if a teacher, particularly a good one, is beset with psycho-physical peculiarities or defects?

6. With what erroneous idea are both teacher and pupil imbued in any sphere of learning on a subconscious basis?

7. What is likely to happen when a pupil is sent to observe a great artist in order to improve their own skills?

8. Why does imitation of a particular characteristic of a great artist or athlete not confer on the imitator corresponding success?

9. In what way could the pupil imitate and successfully use a characteristic of a great athlete?

Thought Question

1. Do you agree with Alexander that “the psycho-physical process called imitation would seem to be one that is operative in most people to a high degree, as compared with other fundamental processes” (p. 252). What is the process of imitation, and how does it work? Alexander also writes (p. 254 that “…the process of imitation remains inoperative unless there is something striking to be imitated….” which implies that if there is nothing striking to be noticed, imitation will not occur. What constitutes “striking?” People in conversations will “unconsciously” imitate the way another person is standing, sitting, gesturing, talking, etc.–a natural rapport building process which therapists, salespeople and others have consciously learned to use to great advantage. Do we in fact continually analyze and imitate as a general process? What other processes might Alexander class as fundamental?

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