Socialization as said above is the process of learning group norms, habits and ideals. There are four factors of this process of learning. These are imitation, suggestion, identification and language. A brief description of these four factors is necessary.
Imitation is copying by an individual of the actions of other Mead defines it as self-conscious assumption of another’s acts or roles. Thus when the child attempts to walk impressively like his father swinging a stick and wearing spectacles he is imitating. Imitation may be conscious or unconscious, spontaneous or deliberate, perceptual or ideational, imitation. The person imitating performs exactly the some activity as the one being performed before him.
Imitation is the main factor in the process of socialization of the child. Through it he learns many social behavior patterns. The child is compared to adult possesses the greatest capacity for imitation. Language and pronunciation are acquired by the child only through imitation. It is because of the tendency to imitate that children are so susceptible to the influence of their parents and friends whose behavior they imitate indiscriminately.
According to Mc. Dougall, suggestion is the process of communication resulting in the acceptance with connections of the communicated proposition in the absence of logically adequate grounds for its acceptance. Suggestion is the process of communicating information, which has no logical or self-evident basis. It is devoid of rational persuasion. It may be convoged through language, pictures or some similar medium.
Suggestion influences not only behavior with others but also one’s own private and individual behavior. In trade, industry, politics, education and every other field people acquainted with psychological facts make use of suggestions to have, their ideas and notions accepted by other people and to make the latter behave according to their wishes. Actually, propaganda and advertising are based on the fundamental psychological principles of suggestion.
The suggestibility of the child is greater than that of the adult because in childhood he is devoid of maturity and reason. The suggestibility of an individual decreases with an increase in his maturity and mental level. It may be however necessary to keep in mind that there can be a difference in the suggestibility of children belonging to different society and also the same society.
There are several external and internal conditions, which enhance suggestibility. Thus, temperament, intellectual ability, ignorance, inhibition, dissociation, emotional excitement and fatigue are some of the internal conditions of suggestibility. Among the external condition, mention may be made of group situation, prestige of the suggested and public opinion.
In his early age, the child cannot make distinction between his organism and environment. Most of his actions are random. They are natural reaction of which he is not conscious. As he grows in age, he comes to know of the nature of things, which satisfy his needs. Such things become the object of his identification. Thus, the toy with which he plays, the picture book, which he enjoys or looking and the mother who feeds him become the object of his identification. The speed and area of identification increases with the growth in age. Through identification he becomes sociable.
Language is the medium of social intercourse. It is the means of cultural transmission. At first the child utters some random syllables which have no meaning, but gradually he comes to learn his mother-tongue.