Language Acquisition Device (LAD)

The Language Acquisition Device (LAD) is the innate biological ability of humans to acquire and develop language. The LAD was developed by linguist Noam Chomsky who contributed to the field of cognitive psychology through his language research. He challenged the prevailing behaviorist theory that language (like any other behavior) was acquired through exposure to it in our environment. He theorized that all humans share a mechanism which allows us to comprehend, develop, and use language like no other animal. Animals raised around humans don't develop the ability to speak but humans do. He called this biological language mechanism the Language Acquisition Device.

Our capacity for language is the same all over the world in wildly different cultures and environments. Children quickly learn language and learn in developmental stages that occur at the same age no matter what differing environments they grow up in. Cognitive psychologists use the LAD theory as evidence to support the concept that language is both a learned and innate capability.

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