Critical period

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Critical period is a developmental stage during which the nervous system is especially sensitive to environmental stimuli. If, during this period, the organism does not receive the appropriate stimuli required to develop a given function, it may be difficult or even impossible to develop that function later in life.

Definition[edit | edit source]

The critical period is a specific time in development when certain skills or abilities are most easily learned. It is a concept used in the field of child development and education to explain the importance of timing in learning.

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Critical periods are characterized by the fact that they are a 'one-time' opportunity for learning. If the organism does not receive the appropriate stimuli during this period, it may be difficult, or even impossible, to develop some functions later in life.

Examples[edit | edit source]

Examples of critical periods include the early years for language acquisition and the period of visual development in animals.

In Humans[edit | edit source]

In humans, the concept of a critical period is used in psychology, neuroscience, and in language acquisition theory. For example, the critical period for the development of a child's binocular vision is thought to be between three months and eight years.

In Animals[edit | edit source]

In animals, critical periods are also well-documented. For example, the critical period for imprinting in ducks is within the first 24 hours after hatching.

See Also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Critical period Resources
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