Early Childhood

Connolly, Kevin
May 1973
Journal of Learning Disabilities;May1973, Vol. 6 Issue 5, p305
Academic Journal
This article cites a study designed to examine learning and the concept of critical periods in infancy. The concept of critical periods in the development of behavior is not new either to biology or psychology. The origins of the idea are to be found in experimental embryology where the concept refers to time periods of maximum sensitivity or indifference to chemical forces acting on the cellular mass. Three principal kinds of critical period phenomena have been described in behavioral studies: optimal periods for learning, for infantile stimulation and for the formation of basic social relationships. Dealing first with the establishment of social relationships, there is now an extensive literature on imprinting. The importance of early experience in the development of behavior is amply documented by empirical research. In this study, the use of the term "sensitive period" rather than "critical period" is advocated and examples of such sensitive periods associated with quite different behavioral parameters are given.


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