crit period

Eubank Lynn Alan eubank at
Sat Jan 29 11:48:53 EST 1994


I'm looking for ... well, information on the so-called critical period
phenomenon of the Hubel-Wiesel sort. I'm aware of some of the more recent
work, e.g., Gilbert & Wiesel 1992, indicating that there is plasticity
after the deadline, so to speak, but it seems to me that these experiments
speak to a somewhat different concern. In particular, the original
experiments seemed to show that development was all but impossible after
the critical window passed; the newer work seems to suggest that, for
those areas that have not missed the window, some degree of plasticity
remains. The question remains: What is a critical period in
neurobiological terms? Does it relate perhaps to LPT in some inverse
sense? Am I making any sense at all? 

It's probably obvious from the above that I'm not a neuroscientist. In
fact, I'm a linguist whose particular interest here involves lg
acquisition, where there does appear to be a crit period for
native-language development, but perhaps not for second-language
development, which we might define as acquisition by those who have not
missed the window. (Catch the parallel?) Of course, the connection between
individual subneural/interneural processes and lg acquisition is of
necessity tenuous; it's obvious that you folks know a lot about
neurobiological processes, and psycholinguists have learned a lot about
lg, but the gap is still mightly large. Doesn't hurt to ask, though (-: 

Lynn Eubank

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