Socialization, as said above, is the process of learning group norms, habits and ideas. 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 another. Mead defines it as “self-conscious assumption of another’s acts of 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. In imitation the person imitating performs exactly the same 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 behaviour patterns; the child as 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 I influence of their parents and friends whose behaviour they imitate indiscriminately.
According to McDougall, “suggestion is the process of communication resulting in the acceptance with conviction of the communicated proposition in the absence of logics 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 convey through language, pictures or some similar medium.
Suggestion influences not only behaviour with others but also one’s own private and individual behaviour. In trade, industry, politics, education and every other field people acquainted with psychological facts make use of suggestion to have their ideas and notions accepted by other people and to make the latter behave according to their wishes.
Actually propaganda ai advertising is based on the fundamental psychological principles of suggestion. The suggestibility of the child is greater than that of the adult because in childhood he devoid of maturity and reason the suggestibility of an individual decrease with an increase his maturity and mental level. It may be however necessary to keep in mind that there can t a difference in the suggestibility of children belonging to different societies and also the same society.
There are several external and internal conditions which enhance suggestibility. Thu 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 suggester and public opinion.
In his early age, the child cannot make any distinction between his organism and environment. Most of his actions are random. They are natural reactions of which he is no conscious. As he grows in age, he comes to know of the nature of things which satisfy the needs. Such things become the object of his identification.
Thus the toys with which he plays the picture-book which he enjoys or looking at the mother who feeds him become the objects of his identification. The speed and area of identification increase 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. Therein it has already been told that language moulds the personality of the individual from infancy.
The Development of the Self
The heart of socialization is the development of the self. But what is meant by ‘self? According to Cooley, “By self is meant that which is designated in common speech by T, ‘me’, and ‘myself. Cooley’s definition of self is simple enough but is does not refer to any clear-cut entity such as one’s body. Therefore Gardner Murphy says that the self is “the individual as known to the individual”.
The self of a person is what he consciously or unconsciously conceives himself to be. It is thus his “self concept” the sum total of his perceptions of himself, and especially his attitudes toward himself. When a child is born, he has no self, i.e., he has no consciousness of itself or of others.
He does not possess those behaviour mechanisms which make an individual apart and a member of any group. He has no conception of where the social customs begin and end. In short, the child at birth is not conscious of any of the self and other relationships.
These relationships the child learns through the process of socialization. It is the fulfillment of his potentialities for personal growth and development. It humanizes the biological organism and transforms it into a self having a sense of identity and endowed with ideals, values and ambitions. Self is a social product and socialization is the indispensable condition for individuality and awareness