23 Born to Talk Key Terms and Concepts •Instinct •Learning •Biased learning •Phonetic contrasts •Babbling •Voice onset time •Phoneme •Sensitive period •Open-ended learners As before, we will begin with development. Although language obviously requires a great deal of learning before we become proficient speakers and listeners, I will argue that this learning builds on a base provided by instinct. In this regard we are certainly not unique. In fact, we can and have learned a great deal about human language development by studies of song learning in birds. So, a side theme of this lesson is to investigate some of the processes involved in song development in birds. Instinct and Learning Psychologists have had a longstanding interest in learning. But psychologists have occasionally dabbled in instinct, which many have portrayed as the opposite of learning. Although there are certainly big differences between instinct and learning, they can and do occur together. This is especially obvious when it comes to communication processes. Before doing so, we need to take a step back and talk about what is meant by these two terms. Lesson 23 257
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