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Róheim, G. (1943). Social Learning and Imitation: By Neal E. Miller and John Dollard. Published for the Institute of Human Relations by Yale University Press, New Haven, 1941. 341 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 12:280-281.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:280-281

Social Learning and Imitation: By Neal E. Miller and John Dollard. Published for the Institute of Human Relations by Yale University Press, New Haven, 1941. 341 pp.

Review by:
Géza Róheim

The authors attempt to explain the process of learning on the basis of a psychology of drives and rewards. Whether it is possible to do this and completely eliminate emotional factors may be a matter of opinion. Let us see how this theory works when applied to a specific case.

Ceci, three and a half, is now eating with the grown ups but when she sees her little brother (one and a half) getting cornflakes she declares that she too wants cornflakes for her supper. This is the explanation given by the authors:

'During the six months preceding the date of the observation recounted above, the children had eaten meals together five or six hundred times. Had they always been fed separately one would not predict the behavior here observed. Ceci had been eating when Mark was eating and when she had seen him eating. The sight of Mark eating had thus acquired a secondary drive value which served to heighten her appetite and to invoke in her anticipations of eating too' (p. 135). Sibling rivalry as a factor is not mentioned. An attempt is made to explain the peek-a-boo game and the learning of the same game without even mentioning the unconscious significance of the game (p. 139).

The analysis of a lynching is interesting.

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