Critical Period Hypothesis

Critical Period Hypothesis

The critical period hypothesis cites a commonly observable phenomenon, the fact that children find language learning much easier than adults, and learn language remarkably quickly, to claim that language learning is more difficult, or impossible after puberty. The concept of "critical periods" was initially introduced in the study of animal behavior, where it was noticed that certain behavioral responses only emerged when stimulus was given within a particular time frame. This concept has been applied to many species, including humans, with regard to the development of specific emotional responses such as stress. [1] In 1967 Lenneberg proposed that this ...

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which implies formal instruction, and Lenneberg maintains this distinction himself.

Age is not the only variable when comparing groups of learners. We cannot simply compare children and adults, but must differentiate between children acquiring their first language, children learning additional language(s) naturalistically, child and adult classroom learners, both in the country where the language is spoken and outside of it, and immigrants immersed in a foreign language and culture, learning language through induction. With these groups, different social and psychological factors, as well as age, affect their language proficiency, and these must be explored alongside the role that age may play.

Some psychologists and psycho-linguists, such as Steven Pinker, claim that language learning stops at puberty because before that an innate language learning mechanism is present in the brain, enabling children to flawlessly acquire any language, given enough input. [3] Once puberty is ...

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is innate, and is controlled by a specific part of the inner ear, the semicircular canals. [5] Once the child has achieved good enough control over its muscles, it can build on the innate function of balance to learn to ride a bicycle.

To learn language, a child must process the data to which it is exposed, deduce rules from regularities occurring in this data, and apply these. In addition, it must have control over the muscles that govern articulation. There is no need to suppose that a specialized linguistic device to extract these rules exists, however. The entire left hemisphere of the brain is constantly constructing theories regarding the world around it, based on sensory ...

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Critical Period Hypothesis. (2017, July 3). Retrieved June 19, 2018, from
"Critical Period Hypothesis.", 3 Jul. 2017. Web. 19 Jun. 2018. <>
"Critical Period Hypothesis." July 3, 2017. Accessed June 19, 2018.
"Critical Period Hypothesis." July 3, 2017. Accessed June 19, 2018.
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Added: 7/3/2017 04:41:28 PM
Submitted By: KokesYK
Category: Education
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 3974
Pages: 15

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