Occipital lobe development

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Tue Nov 3 00:08:30 EST 1998

In <01be05c2$06d3f120$LocalHost at AC7748BU120253.ac.com> "Erik Broch"
<erik.broch at ac.no> writes: 
>I've had an argument with a college of mine. 
>The question is as follows. Is it possible that our children have the
>ability to se small nuances in the grey scale, that we as parents cant
>In other words. Can our children have a more advanced occipital lobe
>we have. And is this alleged development caused by a much higher
degree of
>visual stimulation (through TV, movies etc), or can this difference be
>caused by cultural, or sociale factors?
>Erik Broch

First, as regards small visual nuances: depnding on the age of the
parents, there may be some degree of degredation in visual function
(perhaps peripheral, or perhaps just barely central, i.e. in the

However, for more interesting possibilities, let me offer this analogy:
at the early babbling stage, infants are apparently capable of all
speech sounds known to linguists (so far as they can tell); their
ability to distinguish phonemes equally "universal".  Very quickly,
however (long before actual speech), they begin to lose the ability to
produce or hear (discriminate) sounds/phonemes not important to the
language they hear around them (i.e., what will become their "native"
language--poor term, given that they are NOT born with selective
proficiency in that language's speech sounds).

F. Frank LeFever, Ph.D.
Chair, Linguistics Section,
The New York Academy of Sciences

(I cite this particular role as a lead-in to encouraging people in the
NYC area to attend the talk by Elizabeth Warrington, on "Organization
of Knowledge Systems in the Brain", Nov. 30.  Check out details in
Academy's website www.nyas.org)
(or on NYNG website:     
www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Lab/6117/index.html  )

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