Re: Self improvement in the human brain was Re: DNA as a measure of brain complexity

From: Michael Roy Ames (
Date: Sat Feb 25 2006 - 11:14:48 MST

William Pearson wrote:

> For example during human development we
> lose our ability to absorb languages like
> sponge early on, so we can devote resources
> (energy or computational) to other processes.

The hypothesis that humans lose the ability to easily absorb languages as we
grow older has long been proven false (MacNamara, 1973; McLaughlin, 1977).
The difficulty younger children have in acquiring language is often
underestimated. Older children and adults learn languages faster and more
easily for the similar investment of time and effort. The only advantage
younger children appear to have is in the accurate expression of basic
phonemes. This allows younger children to learn specific pronounciation and
accent more easily.

MacNamara, J. (1973). Nurseries, streets and classrooms. Modern Language
Journal, 57, 250-254.

McLaughlin, B. (1977). Second-language learning in children. Psychological
Bulletin, 84, 438-459.

Michael Roy Ames
Singularity Institute For Artificial Intelligence Canada Association

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