Cerebral plasticity plays an important role during brain development. For example, children learn a new language or achieve complex skills, such as playing a musical instrument, faster than adults. In a classic experiment on string players, the extent of the cortical representation of the left digits was found to be inversely correlated with the age at which the person had begun to play, indicating a larger amount of cerebral plasticity in subjects with earlier exposure to training . Similarly, children lacking proper environmental inputs early in life are more likely to have abnormal development of the functions related to those inputs (the concept of critical periods) .
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