The Critical Period Of Development Essay
Human behavior comes from the brain and it is an intricate combination of both innate and environmental factors. The so-called critical period of development is one of the most important phases in behavioral formation. In clearer terms, the critical period is a maturational phase during which the brain is particularly receptive to acquire new skills. It has been observed that after this specific time period, there is a relative decline in the brain’s receptivity to relevant skills, or even in extreme cases, receptivity may be somewhat impossible (Newport, 2003). Language is also a form of behavior that humans use to communicate and whether it is written, signed or spoken, it is also sensitive to the critical period.
Eric Lenneberg (qtd. in Newport 737) noted that human language acquisition is an example of biologically constrained learning, which must happen during the critical period in order to fully develop. According to Lenneberg, the critical period begins early in life and ends at puberty. Therefore, critical period hypothesis holds the idea that although experience has a profound influence on the brain and the resulting behavior, the effect of our experience is stronger during the critical period.
The underlying mechanism of why exposure to language must be within a certain period remains unclear. Researchers have proposed two possible explanations. Some explain it by the earlier-is-better hypothesis, which claims that maturational constraints…