By Bernard Spodek (auth.), Nechama Nir-Janiv, Bernard Spodek, Doreen Steg, Mima Spencer, Paula Wagemaker (eds.)
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This lack calls into serious quest ion the impugning of the importance of experience in language acquisition by such psycholinguistic theorists as Chomsky (1959) and Lenneberg (1966). The fact that all 11 of the infants in wave V spontaneously named objects before they were two years old, and nearly as soon as did the home-reared children from predominantly professional families in Worcester, attests that the procedures taught the caregivers to foster vocal imitation and semantic mastery were indeed effective.
Properly administered, the audiovisual enrichment enabled the foundlings in wave IV to attain the intermediate steps on the Uzgiris-Hunt Scales considerably younger than did those of waves land 11 and also well ahead of those in wave 111, who got the untutored human enrichment. In fact, the wave IV foundlings were not far behind those of wave V in attaining the intermediate steps, a finding which suggests that mechanically administered, audiovisual enrichment can be fairly effective in fostering development during the first 6 to 9 months of life.
Despite still remaining uncertainties, this new evidence of plasticity in early psychological development, plasticity considerably greater than the old evidence suggested, should be highly encouraging to everyone interested in our hopes for early education. From such findings, I am inclined to believe that every human infant born without detectable pathology has the hereditary potential to acquire all the knowledge, skills, and values required for productive participation in the mainstream of any culture on earth.