There’s a more tangible way to see socialization effects in progress, and it’s with language. This is not an instance where I’ve stumbled on some fantastic example all on my own, folks like Steven Pinker and Judith Harris have used it previously, but it’s just so useful that we’ll conscript it into service again. You may know someone who was the child of immigrants. Assuming that your acquaintance was born here, and their parents born in another country (and raised there), you’ll likely notice some interesting qualities. First, the accents of your friend and their parents are likely very different. Your friend sounds like you, not really so much like their parents. They might even speak their native language at home, but nonetheless they speak with the same accent as you most of the time. This is no new phenomenon to language scholars who noted long ago that young children adopt the accent and dialect of their environment. After reaching a certain age, accents do not tend to change and it becomes harder to learn a new language as we get older. Thus, their parents who recently immigrated retain their native accents. Yet their children adopt the accent of their peers. Why?Leer aquí el artículo completo de Brian Boutwell, profesor asociado de Criminología y Justicia Penal en la Universidad de Saint Louis.
Accent and language (the language that we speak, that is) are environmentally shaped; completely environmentally shaped. Thus, they represent a perfect avenue for studying socialization. If parents were the prime movers in the socialization game, then their children should presumably adopt their accent, their dialect, and their way of speaking. But this isn’t what happens. Children, as Harris notes, have to fit within their peer groups. Their reproductive success long term depends on it. Parents may have every desire in the world to shape, mold, and remake their children in their own image. But tough luck, children have their own interests to look out for, they have their own ideas about the world, and as they age, these become more and more apparent. Your influence as a parent was had when sperm met egg. Your child will be socialized, rest assured of that much, but it just won’t be you that does much of it. If we had bothered to read a little more Trivers and a little less Freud or Spock (and much less of some archaic holy text), we might have expected as much.