Psychology Assignment Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH)

Added on - 08 May 2020

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Running head: PSYCHOLOGYPsychologyName of the StudentName of the UniversityAuthor Note
1PSYCHOLOGYThe Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) has been a topic of controversy among the scholarswho study language acquisition and development. According to the critical period hypothesis,individuals acquire native language during the first few years after the birth if they areintroduced to proper stimuli. During the critical period of an individual’s development if theperson is unable to grasp the first language acquisition then it is a possibility that the person willnot be able to fully develop their ability to talk properly especially their use of grammar will behampered. In several species, especially in humans during the critical period of developmentcertain experiences and stimuli lead to the behavioral and language development of anindividual. The following paragraphs will provide a detailed explanation of different theoriespropounded by all the linguists, psychologists and other scholars on this topic.In his book “Biological Foundations of Language” Eric Lenneberg said that humanacquisition of language was an instance of the biological development of a person and it wasacquired during the critical growth period beginning from the birth of an individual and endingwhen the person reaches puberty (Birdsong, 2014). He also said that if any individual wants tolearn a different language within or after this period of time then for that a different method willbe required and the person will be able to learn the other language with much difficulty.Lenneberg proposed a hypothesis that the critical or sensitive period of language developmentstopped at the puberty when the cortical lateralization of the brain function was established afterbrain formation or functioning reached its maturity (De Groot & Kroll, 2014). To support histheory of critical period hypothesis Lenneberg provided three evidences, the first one said thatthe children who were brought up in an environment of neglect and in abandonment theydeveloped no prominent language acquisition skill, especially their phonology as well as theirsyntax use was affected. Second evidence was about the deaf children who were exposed to
2PSYCHOLOGYlanguage at older age and their communication skills were affected. Finally, the childrensuffering from brain damage or aphasia had better chances of recovery than the adults whosuffered from the same condition (Temprana et al., 2015). After Lenneberg’s book was publishedseveral scholars conducted substantial research on this topic, all these studies concluded thatthere is a certain sensitive period during the development of a human when one attainsacquisition of language chiefly the phonological and grammatical skills.Wilder Penfield and Lamar Roberts were the first to suggest the concept of critical periodhypothesis they proposed that the concept of CPH is related to the decline of neural plasticityaccording to the age of a person and this causes a person to face difficulties in learning a firstlanguage (Rund, 2014). Another point related to CPH suggested by Penfield is that if anindividual suffers from malnutrition during the time of critical development period then theneural plasticity of the person is affected. Both Penfield and Roberts concluded in their study thata person could learn multiple languages until the age of nine (Luine, 2014). Another famouslinguist Noam Chomsky proposed the Nativist Theory in which he propounded that humans havebiological inherent ability of language acquisition and that every infant is born with LAD or aLanguage Acquisition device, which is a hypothetical part of the brain responsible for speech orlanguage acquisition. Chomsky also provided another theory of “Universal Grammar” whichmeans that, there is a universal format of grammar which has been biologically incorporated inthe genes of an individual from birth and that help the person to form grammatical skillsautomatically (Saxton, 2017). Eric Lenneberg later supported the studies of Chomsky and in hisbook, “Biological Foundations of Language” and he added that till the age of 13 in anindividual’s brain language is present in both the hemispheres till the lateralization function takesplace after the brain reaches maturity (Guasti, 2017). Although other scholars who conducted
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