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Discussion 3.docx

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Psychology 1000
Erica Lawson

Discussion 3: Secret of the Wild Child 1. What are the developmental issues here? The “Secret of the Wild Child” is a video about a young girl named Genie who was identified as a “wild child” and grew up in isolation from society. Genie was raised in extreme isolation for the first 13 years of her life. Almost her entire childhood was spent locked in a bedroom where she was tied to a potty chair and had grown up isolated and abused for over a decade. However, even though Genie was 13 years old when she was found, her lack of human contact meant that she was only at an infantile level of development. When an individual has not been exposed to society or the experiences of daily life, it limits their ability to develop properly. The longer Genie was left isolated from society in that room she developed more and more developmental issues. Some of these issues include the fact that she was isolated from the world and was abused for making any noise at all. This left Genie absent of social abilities, communication skills and also hindered her language development. As well when Genie was found, it was reported that she constantly spat, scratched and could not walk properly. These are all signs of the awful conditions that she was raised in. It was definitely apparent that Genie explored things much differently than other children her age because she was not exposed to the same environment as them when growing up. 2. What does this suggest about Nature and Nurture? There has been a significant amount of scientific research done in the fields of development and the effect of nature and nurture on developing children in relation to Genie’s case. Nature refers to our biological capacities whereas nurture refers to our environment and learning behavior. Nature and nurture evidently influence one another when looking at development. In Genie's case her developmental issues were revealed by her lack of nurture throughout her childhood. Genie was isolated throughout the first 13 years of her life and was left lacking the nurture part of development. All of her abilities and skills were therefore assumed to be a result of the ingrained capabilities of humans. With the lack of nurture in her life, Genie was unable to learn to speak, walk, or behave in a normal manner. Genies inability to develop properly in certain areas was linked to the lack of experience in her life. As individuals grow older they learn from their surroundings as well as from their previous experiences. Since Genie was isolated from society she was unable to learn and develop properly. If we were to compare a child who grew up in a very integrated environment to a child who grew up in a quarantined environment, such as Genie, there are very many differences in the development of these children. For example, Genie lacks the ability to communicate with other individuals and to recognize social signals due to the environment she was raised in and the lack of nurture she received. However, an individual who was raised in a very integrated and enriched environment would have no trouble developing these traits. The lack of nature and nurture shown in Genie’s life allows us to believe that a balance between nature and nurture is needed in order for an individual to develop properly. 3. Can anything be done to help Genie? There is a critical period for humans in which certain experiences must occur in order for normal development to occur. Unfortunately Genie was found after this critical period had already ended. Genie spent her sensitive developing years alone in an isolated environment. It was reported that Genie made some progress from her original state to now, however, because this critical period had passed Genie was not able to acquire many human functions such as proper human language. I believe that there is still hope for Genie and that it would be unwise to say that nothing can be done to help Genie because she has already shown improvement. There are also many facilities that could help Genie, but to completely adjust to society and become a normally functioning i
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