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select the case of Imitation. If we can prove satisfactorily that this is not instinctive, but acquired, little doubt will remain on the other cases.

But a primitive The instinctive

(1.) The first argument against instinctive imitation is the fact, that no imitation whatever takes place during the first few months of infant existence. So far as my observation goes, there is very little during the first year. impulse ought to appear much earlier. movements discussed in the preceding Book show themselves from the very commencement of life. There is no new development or manifestation of power at the time when the imitative propensity comes on; there is nothing parallel, for example, to the physical changes that show themselves at puberty, along with the new feelings of that period. The child is seen to go through a great deal of active exertion of its own, in the course of those unimitative months; the power of repeating the actions of others would be exceedingly valuable at this time, and would save much fruitless endeavour; but the very faintest tendency in this direction cannot be discerned. There may be instances of a more precocious faculty than any that I have observed, but these would not affect the present argument.

(2.) In the second place, imitation, when it does begin, is slow and gradual in its progress, a fact that looks like acquisition, and not like instinct. We find, for example, that, in speech, the imitation is at first limited to one or two articulations, and that others come on by degrees at considerable intervals. If there were any primitive connexion in the brain between a sound heard, and the reproduction of that sound with the voice, it ought to be as good for one letter of the alphabet as for another. So with the movement of the hand; why should one be possible, while no amount of example will bring out a second, not in itself more difficult?

(3.) The imitation very often fails after it has once been hit. A child has caught a certain sound, and will at particular times produce it; yet at other times there is no possibility of bringing on the utterance. This is constantly

IMITATION ACQUIRED.

415

seen in the first efforts of children. It is in vain that we repeat to them a sound, a letter, or a syllable that they have shown themselves able to pronounce; the association between the audible impression and the specific vocal exertion has plainly not yet been formed; it cannot therefore be instinctive. The child has, in the course of its spontaneous articulate movements, come on the sound hum, and this sound once pronounced is likely to recur in the cycle of its spontaneous actions; but to utter the syllable at the instance of another person's utterance is something additional. As an acquisition, I can easily render to myself an account of the process. The sound spoken is also heard; besides the vocal exertion, there is a coincident impression on the ear; an association grows up between the exertion and the sensation, and, after a sufficient time, the one is able to recall the other. The sensation, anyhow occurring, brings on the exertion; and when, by some other person's repeating the syllable, the familiar sound is heard, the corresponding vocal act will follow. Experience, I think, proves that the time elapsing between the ability to utter a sound, and the readiness to utter it on its being heard, corresponds to the time requisite for an adhesion to grow up between the two heterogeneous elements, the one a spontaneous action, the other a sensation. These early sounds come out more frequently of themselves, than under the stimulus of imitation, which proves that the exertion precedes the power of imitating.

If imitation be instinctive, there must be several thousands of instinctive connexions between sensations and actions. The sound of each letter of the alphabet, and every word, would require to be connected, by a primitive adhesion, with definite movements of the larynx, the mouth, and the chest. Every movement of the hand would need to be associated with the visible appearances of the same movement in other human beings. We should have to affirm the manifest absurdity that associations could be formed between things yet unexperienced; between sounds, and sights, and actions, long before anything had been heard, seen, or done.

(4.) It is notorious to observation, that more is done by the nurse imitating the child, than by the child imitating the nurse. When an articulation is stumbled on, it is caught up by all around, and the child is made familiar with the sound as proceeding from other voices, in addition to its own. This would obviously promote the growth of the needful adhesive connexion.

(5.) Imitation varies with the natural abundance of spontaneous activity, being most efficient where the spontaneous variety and flexibility are good. A child will learn to imitate singing, in proportion as, of its own accord, it falls into musical notes. Its own native song must come first: the goodness of that will be a condition of its acquiring the song of others. In whatever department any individual shows spontaneous and unprompted facility, in that department will the same individual be imitative or acquisitive.

(6.) Imitation advances with the acquired habits. In learning to dance, the deficiency of the association between the pupil's movements and the sight of the master's, renders the first steps difficult to acquire. The desired movements are not naturally performed at the outset. Some movements are made; sufficient voluntary command of the limbs and body has been acquired, in other shapes, to set a-going action of some kind; but the first actions are seen to be quite wrong; there is a manifest want of coincidence, which originates new attempts; and these failing, others are made, until at last the posture is hit. The grand process of trial and error brings on the first coincidence between a movement, and the appearance of that movement in another person; repetition, by constituting a cohesive link, makes the imitation at last easy. Upon this acquisition, other acquisitions of the same kind are based, and the improvement is accelerating. Thus it is that we pass through an alphabet of imitation in all arts; the fixing of the association in the first links is the most difficult part of the process.

(7.) It is in harmony with all that has now been advanced, that imitation depends likewise on the delicacy of the sense that perceives the effect.

PROGRESS OF THE POWER OF IMITATION.

417

This is not the place to exhaust the subject of Imitation in particular, or the acquisitions that enter into volition in general. It is enough, for the present, to show that the associative principle is an indispensable requisite here as elsewhere. All the conditions already specified, as affecting the rate of adhesiveness in other acquirements, might be exemplified likewise in these. The great peculiarity in their case arises from the circumstances of their commencement. Being the starting point of every other branch of education, they must find their own way through struggles and accidents, trials and failures. Reposing upon the great fundamental link between consciousness and present action,between pleasure or pain, and the activity happening at the time, they come at last to supply definite connexions between our feelings and exertions, so as to enable us not merely to control a movement at work, but to call dormant actions into being at the instance of our reigning desire.

Of the various circumstances affecting the progress of these volitional associations, the engagement of the cerebral energy or concentrated attention is of signal consequence. This condition, necessary at any age, seems the all-important one in the early months of our existence. The moment of an acquisition seems generally to turn upon some happy concurrence of aroused attention, or mental engrossment, with the action; if an impression is not detained for a time. by the influence of some feeling, it is void of effect. When the child hits upon an exercise that gives it pleasure, and is thereby led to repeat the act, earnestly and intently, the occasion is sure to bring a sensible advance in fixing the whole connected train.

NATURAL OBJECTS-AGGREGATES OF NATURAL QUALITIES.

53. One of the principal components of human intelligence is our permanent hold of the external, or object, world as it strikes the senses.

External things usually affect us through a plurality of

senses. The pebble on the sea shore is pictured on the eye as Form and Colour. We take it up in the hand, and thereby obtain the impression of Form, together with the Tactile sensation of the Surface. Knock two together, and there is a characteristic Sound. To retain the impression of an object of this kind, there must be an association of all these different effects. Such association, when matured and firm, is our idea, our intellectual grasp of the pebble.

Passing to the organic world, and plucking a rose, we have the same effects; form to the eye and to the hand, colour and touch, with the addition of odour and of taste. A certain time is requisite for the coherence of all these qualities in one aggregate, so as to give us the enduring image of the rose. When fully acquired, any one of the characteristic impressions may revive the others; the odour, the sight, the feeling of the thorny stalk,-each of these by itself will hoist the entire impression into the view. Should we go to work and dissect the flower botanically, we obtain new impressions to enter into the common aggregate.

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It is by rapidly associating these qualities, in other words, by the ready adhesion of impressions of sight, touch, and the other senses, that a person becomes largely conversant with Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal bodies. In the mind of the Naturalist, the sensations of sight and of touch, more especially, must take a ready hold. A good general adhesiveness, aided by the special or local susceptibilities, is chiefly to be depended on. The element of concentration of mind must be present likewise, in the shape of an interest for the study. To this requisite, however, we must attach an important qualification. When a department of acquisition involves a great mass of detail, the attention, spread over a wide area, cannot be strongly concentrated at any point; the concentration must be relative to alien subjects which excite no interest at all. The natural or unprompted adhesiveness, whether from general or from local endowment, is called for alike in Natural History and in Languages.

The power of observation ever fresh and buoyant, the

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