The Imitation Game is a Perception Game…
(And bear with me... this is about horses - and horse-human interaction, too.... I am stumbleing around about in this post - the text is not crystal clear - yet - I wanted to share it - something is forming in me, about the importance of embodiment, the shared nature of perception, how we form our beliefs as humans - how horses can help us see this - by being them.)
The imitation I talk about here has nothing to do with copying or imitating for its own sake. Imitation is an important way to, and of learning. You find imitation (of various kind; mimicking, mirroring, emulation, “true” imitation, teaching, schooling/herd/group behavior) in social learning, in language learning, in so called situated learning – as e.g. in apprenticeship models, etc. Imitation is also an important tool when to getting to know someone (as in the chameleon effect – which is about creating/ “achieving” liking each other – and in creating a common ground of understanding and communicating with each other – creating social contracts). Imitation is so much more than copying – and play a big role in all mammals’ development and growth into adults, but also in adult life. It is a corner stone of how we interact with each other, albeit often imitation is not conscious, it can be looked at, made conscious, and experimented with.
AND. Imitation also plays a very important part in perception. How do we share worlds with each other? How do we enter someone else’s world? Which when a common ground of communication is established, (which includes mutual respect), is the next step of getting to know each other, of opening the door to your own world and entering the door to the world of “the other”. Getting or being granted access to another person’s (or being’s) world – is to see each other’s way of perceiving the world – it is learning about perspective taking. It also makes it possible to adjust or question your own perspective, or even updating some of your own core beliefs of the world, or about yourself.
It is easy to think perception is an objective process. That we take in objective facts about the world and how it functions, through our senses. But how we perceive the world is learned, for all of us, through seeing through the eyes of those who took care of us as infants and then through our childhood. We took part in their perception of the world; we saw the word through their eyes. Perception is a shared and joint activity – laying the foundation for how you see and how you interact with the world.