Our brain is genetically designed to detect recognizable patterns presented in the complex environment, and encode them in its neural networks automatically. This enables young children learn things effortlessly. For instance, children learn mother tongues through repeated exposure to certain sentences that implicitly encode the grammatical rules involved, and eventually come to understand and produce their own sentences effortlessly. Research has shown that young children are able to implicitly recognize and use perceptual cues to enhance their performance, the same way as they acquire mother language without having conscious access to syntactic rules. These indicate that young children possess implicit learning capabilities that enable them to acquire complex rule systems and intuitive knowledge. On CNN special report “Babies are smarter than you think”, Alison Gopnik, at the University of California at Berkeley, highlighted that new scientific techniques have taught us that even the youngest infants already know a great deal about objects, people and language, and learn even more. In fact, they have implicit learning methods that are as powerful and intelligent as those of the smartest scientists. They can unconsciously do complicated statistical analyses and their everyday play turns out, remarkably, to be very much like a set of scientific experiments.
Implicit learning is the unconscious acquisition of structured information. It is a form of learning in an incidental manner, as a result of an exposure to a set of stimuli or performance on some task without awareness of what has been learned. This is particularly true in the case of teaching young children with fun read, as for them, learning is fun and play, and learning is both unintentional and unconscious.
Early learning during critical period results in things encoded in long-term implicit memory, and can take place without the intervention of the conscious mind. Implicit memory forms unconsciously, and is composed of automatic sensorimotor behaviors that are deeply embedded without our awareness. In contrast, learning after the critical periods, explicit memory is more involved, and this requires consciously recollection of things and facts, which makes learning harder and less efficient.
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