Definition of critical period in US English:

critical period

noun

Psychology
  • A period during someone's development in which a particular skill or characteristic is believed to be most readily acquired.

    • ‘Clearly, additional research to confirm the developmental trends and identify critical periods for each of the phonological skills tapped is needed.’
    • ‘The ability to learn a language will be more difficult, and perhaps less efficient or effective, if these critical periods are allowed to pass without early exposure to a language.’
    • ‘The programme is a team commitment and the results can be great for children at the critical period of their first year at primary school.’
    • ‘Intrauterine life is a critical period for the development of obesity later in life.’
    • ‘It appreciates that the first three to five years of life are a critical period for developing trust, empathy, dependency, and optimism.’
    • ‘From late pregnancy through the second year of life, the human brain experiences a critical period of accelerated growth.’
    • ‘Those critical periods for song learning may be defined by sex steroids.’
    • ‘They contended that heterosexuality was imperiled by the tendency to segregate boys from girls during the critical period of adolescence.’
    • ‘Now though, with the critical period past, and Reith starting to recover on his own, he could finally take a breather.’
    • ‘Why does the critical period occur during one's early 20s?’
    • ‘Thus the critical period for speech development is from birth to three to four years.’
    • ‘Biological theories point to the hormonal changes that occur in women during the critical periods of puberty, childbirth and menopause in explaining gender differences in depression rates.’
    • ‘Due to the fact that adolescence is a critical period of development, examining the adjustment process of adolescents is especially relevant.’
    • ‘Many of the critical periods for early brain development are over by the time a child is six years old.’
    • ‘It has been suggested that there is a critical period for sex role development and that father absence during this period has long-lasting negative effects.’
    • ‘She was depressed during that period, although the most critical period was the two to three months after her diagnosis.’
    • ‘However, the critical period for development is up to about six years.’
    • ‘The first trimester is a critical period for expecting mothers, who are advised to be aware of their nutritional intake and take care when exercising.’
    • ‘The early adolescent years are a critical period for social skill development, especially for children at risk for social failure.’
    • ‘Newborns who experience tissue injury and pain during critical periods of development may undergo a permanent rewiring of their nervous system that increases their sensitivity to pain later in life.’
    critical point, decisive point, turning point, crossroads, crux, climax, climacteric, culmination, height, head, moment of truth, zero hour, point of no return, rubicon
    View synonyms