Environmental Influences on Early Development: A Comparison of Imprinting and Cortical Plasticity

  • Hans-Joachim Bischof


A comparison of results in imprinting research and studies of the developmental neurobiology of the visual cortex reveals striking similarities. In both areas information from the environment can only be stored during a sensitive period. The position of this sensitive period seems to be dependent to a certain degree on the developmental stage of the animal. The shape of the sensitivity curve is similar in all cases. Beyond the end of the sensitive period, new information can be superimposed on but cannot alter information acquired in early development. Storage of “normal” stimuli is facilitated by a certain preorganization of the receiving brain areas.


Visual Cortex Zebra Finch Sensitive Period External Stimulation Sensitivity Curve 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans-Joachim Bischof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EthologyUniversity of BielefeldBielefeld 1West Germany

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