(2) Imitation. Even though imitation is more pronounced in childhood, all of
us use imitation to some degree. We are all aware of the little boy who imitates his
father shaving and the small child who wants to cook just like his parent. These are
examples of early childhood imitation. As we get older, the process of imitation
frequently focuses on an older sibling or some figure in the entertainment industry. By
this time, the preteen or teenager will attempt to dress, sing, or act like the esteemed
figure. Most people past their teen years will protest that their period of imitation has
long since past. If this were true, we could not account for the armies of people in their
suits, dress shirts, and ties who inhabit business establishments in our larger cities.
Frequently a young Army recruit will attempt to model himself in imitation of a respected
superior or peer. The Army instructor must always look and act like a person worthy of
(3) Observation. We observe with our eyes, ears, nose, fingers, and
tongue. After we observe, the impressions are stored in the brain and recalled when
needed. We observe how others look, how they smell, and what they do. The
decisions we make to like or dislike; respect or dismiss; approve or disapprove; are all
based on the observations we have made. Observation never stops as long as we are
alive and in reasonable health.
(4) Participation. Mental practice of a newly learned skill is not enough.
Mastery requires active participation in practice or rehearsal sessions. No one has yet
learned to be a good trainer without participating in skill practice sessions and
demonstrations associated with training skills. Fear of failure is no excuse for lack of
participation. Everyone fails sometimes. This is part of learning and frequently the
most important part.
b. Mental Processes.
(1) Perception. Perception is the way which each of us views our world.
The fact that we each "perceive" or "see" the world from our own unique perspective
accounts for the wide variety of beliefs found in any group of people.
(a) Perception development. To the infant, the world consists of his
bed and whoever is caring for him at the moment. Our world grows larger as we do.
Now our world can extend deep into outer space and inner space. All our observations
are accepted by the mind in relation to those "truths" which are already held there. That
is the reason optical illusions are possible.
(b) Acceptable perception. When something appears contrary to our
mind's "truths," we tend to see only what is acceptable. This is also the reason why
people tended not to believe the stories about the atrocities in Germany during World
War II. Genocide was an unthinkable concept to most people, and their minds would
not accept it.