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Genie the wild Child and Dugard

By Green781 Dec 04, 2013 2752 Words


Isolation Development

We all have parents that take care of us, giving what we need making sure that what life throws at us than we know how to respond back and interact with society. Involvement in society at a later age is dependent in which one is raised, so the parents have a big part in raising their kid making sure they are having proper social interaction. Any amount of social interaction is going to have a positive benefit, for young kids or any age. One of the most famous debates in Psychology is the Nature vs. Nurture debate, which has been going on since the time of Aristotle. The aspect within this debate comes to the question of; did the aspects of our behavior become because we inherited our characteristics from our parents know as the Nature? The other question leads up to our behavior of; did we get our characteristics from what we learned from the environment through experience? Both of these arguments are neither right nor wrong and can work in many situations. People known as empiricists look towards the human mind saying that at birth the mind is a tabula rasa, meaning a blank slate and filled up with the result of experience and supporting the Nurture aspect. So when an infant forms an attachment with the mother than he/she is responding from the love and attention, which the mother is giving to the infant. This interaction goes along with the language and any other thing the mother does towards the infant. The infant starts imitating the speech of others and the cognitive development depends on how much is reared towards the infant from the parents. An extreme Nature example in psychology includes Bowlby’s theory of attachment, which views the bond between the mother and child as being innate to ensure the survival. With this whole debate full of facts on both sides we just cant say someone is the way they are because of Nurture or Nature. But in two cases both about isolation the famous Genie the wild child and a recent case of Fritzl we can see if they were affected through Nature or Nurture. One of the most famous isolation cases is the Genie (the wild child), with that as not her real name but given because as we think of a genie coming out of a bottle and coming into human society that was just like her life where she saw very little if not any of outside society. Genie’s story came to life when she was discovered on November 4th, 1970 in California where a social worker had seen her and thought something was not really right with the way that thirteen year old looked. So taking the matter in her own hands filed a investigation on her home, where she would soon to find news that was just impossible to hear. Genie had been found confined in a small room with very little light and tied to a potty seat, and found out by investigators she has been in treated and abused like this for 13 years. Since birth up to being a teenager Genie has had no interaction with other people other than her father who would come every once in a while giving her food while her mother would just stand behind her husband. Deprived her whole life psychology and physically she has no ability to talk or interact with other people due to the fact that she missed her crucial years of development this is where the debate of Nature vs. Nurture comes in. This is a great example of Nurture because of how Genie was raised with the isolation being a big impact of her first thirteen years of her life. When they found Genie she was very scared and seemed like she had never seen other people being nice to her trying to help her. The factor of this was because every time Genie made a sound her father would evidently hit her so her action to the abuse was to become mute. At an early age this had taught her that if she speaks to anyone than the reaction would be punished with getting hit which is based off the nurture part of the debate with behaviorism. The fact that Genie was already a teenager the teaching of language to her was thought to be nearly impossible since she had the mind of a one year old trapped within a thirteen year old body. Her vocabulary was about twenty words with no ability of putting together any sentences she would have to learn one word at a time and than eventually put two words together much like a child would do. With teaching her about words and how to use them in small sentences she had to learn in specific areas much like how to use the toilet, and just simple things with dressing herself to being able to eat on her own. Many of the things that she was learning may have seemed to be easy and things you learn when you’re a child, so when you’re her age of being thirteen your able to do these simple task that you take for granted. Genie started to make a rapid progression in some areas, and when she would be outside she would play around and such just like a child would do so but when it came to communicating with strangers, her thing was communicating nonverbally only because she was still scared talking to unknown people. As Genie seemed to be getting better around people and her language progressed everyday psychologists come up with the question, is she like this because of the environment or do genetics have to deal with a part in this? Essentially what this boils down to is the old question of nature vs. nurture debate. The people that were called Nativist where supporting the nature part of the debate and they were thinking that some kids were born with a language acquisition device or LAD where once the child starts learning language than they understand quickly and learn at a pretty fast pace at any age. If you aren’t born with this learning device than a linguist Eric Lenneberg came up with the idea that there is a critical learning period in our life where we can only learn something between a certain age, and if we miss this period than you are no longer able to learn in a fully functional way. The language-learning period ends around the age 12, so Genie was the perfect opportunity for researchers to be able to find out if she was given a learning environment would she overcome from her deprived childhood. Given the fact that nature is a great aspect of Genie, as a infant one of her pediatricians had identified that she had some type of mental delay but that’s not saying if that’s why she cant learn language at such a late stage in life. So many of the researchers were left wondering if she suffered from any kind of mental retardation. Throughout the progress that Genie was getting better everyday, being the center of studies for researchers had taken a toll with her having to move all the time and staying with different people. So when the funding had been cut since some of the researchers weren’t keeping some of the acclaimed data and soon a researcher had found that Genie was able to use words but not produce grammar. So the idea brought up by Lenneberg with the crucial period in our life of the nature vs. nurture theory was coming true and the idea would become clearer towards Genie when her birth mother decided to move her to a foster home. This would be the start of her digression of all the progress that she made with the researchers because of the treatment that she got in the foster homes, making her afraid to speak openly their so she went back to the silence. Many of the researchers should take much of the blame towards her unhappiness that she holds mainly because instead of helping her in ways to being a kid, much of the researchers took her as an opportunity trying to get famous. Beyond Genies critical years that she missed another case study shows that the child didn’t miss her critical years but missed all of her teen years and much of her early adulthood. Much like Genies case with captivity and isolation, this next case is about a girl named Jaycee Lee Dugard whom was kidnapped not by her parents but complete strangers at the age of 11 and held captive for the next 18 years of her life. When her kidnapping took place there were was an instant investigation for her missing but nobody seemed to help with any information of her statues. Nancy Garrido, and Phillip Garrido were the people that kidnapped Dugard that one early morning when she was walking to the bus stop. They would than drive back to their home, and strip her of all that she has but a ring which she tried to hide from them so desperately. So they would place her in the backyard inside a soundproof shed and handcuffed naked inside, where Phillip would than repeatedly rap her on a day-to-day bases. Between the 18 years of captivity she was not really allowed to go outside but every so often Phillip and Nancy would bring her places with the trust they had with her. During the repeated rape this would result in 2 births at the age of 13 and 16, which she had not even known what sex really was at the time of her imprisonment. Dugard was imprisoned with a 5th grader education and had know idea how she was going to raise her kids with the amount of education she had they would only be learning things as much as an thirteen year old knew. At this age of your life you want to be able to talk with other people and not be afraid of society but that was not the case for Dugard. The only people she was able to talk to were Phillip and Nancy whom she began to get attached in a way that a child would with a mother figure. Since Dugard had become significantly lonely Nancy would come with stuffed animals and things that would hopefully just calm Durgard, and in a weird way saying that she is sorry about he predicament. At times Dugard would want the women’s approval since Nancy had manipulated the motherly concern into Dugards head. Up till her first pregnancy she was given a television and videos to watch on sex and pregnancy, so that when she’s ready there wont be a problem as she gives birth. Dugard’s situation would be facing behaviorism with watching and learning from the videos which would be her only source of education with giving birth, and than teaching the kids everything she knows the best way she was taught. In this case of study Dugard faces the claim of being in the Nature vs. Nurture debate, which the psychological part would land more towards the Nurture aspect. As said before, environmentalist know as the empiricists look towards the human mind set as a tabula rasa, were the brain is like a blank slate and eventually filled up through the environment (behaviorism). Dugard was not brought up learning what sex was or how to give birth only because in her life you learn those kinds of things at a later part of your life. So when Nancy shows the manipulation of care and telling her things so much like a mother than its almost as Dugard can count on Nancy being their and so she could show her concern toward her. But Dugard is also learning to stay in fear as Phillip repeatedly rapes her and tells her that he will hurt her if she ever tries to escape. The environment was a huge influence on Dugard not just on her but a huge factor on her kids because this would be their home for their early childhood. All the learning technics Dugard has learned up to her 5th grade education she would began to teach her infants on how to use the alphabet, and just things like making sure they were happy, fed and just motherly things. Her childhood would be dropped because of Phillip and Nancy so she can be held captive and become a mother of two at just 13 years old. Much of Dugard’s life was kept in isolation and captivity from the rest of the world, but one of the strongest accomplishments was that she managed to make it through this horrific event. Everyday was another day to fight on and hopefully that one-day would be the day someone could free her and she would be back in her family’s arms. When Phillips parole officer wants him and the mother of the two girls born to come in for investigation in 2009. This was the chance Jaycee had to tell the interrogators about her captors and what they have done for the past 18 years. When asked questions though, Dugard showed sign of Stockholm syndrome where you have sympathy and feelings towards your captor’s, but evidentially she had the courage to tell of her true identity. Her children would have a bright future ahead of them now, but Jaycee has to live with this for the rest of her life and missing out the crucial time of middle school, high school and College. Which are times of social interactions that help you become a better person later on in life giving you a better job and teaching you to raise a good family. Between these two cases about isolation and captivity from society they both can be seen as having similarities and differences. Genie and Dugard were both kept from the outside world for an extended period of time, which affected both of them mentally and physically. Genie had to learn the language with being able to say one word to putting them into sentences, which took her years to accomplish because of her captivity. Dugard was only thirteen when she had her first baby so this mad it difficult for her able to raise a infant with just an 5th grade education and the isolation from other people with just two other people who are her captives, she begins to become attached not because she wants to but there’s no one else to go to. Genie and Dugard seem to show similarities in their cases but they each have a difference that keeps them grouped into different categories. Much about these cases had to deal with the amount of social interaction that would have a positive benefit. In Genies case as she was found in that house, researchers would try and help with her interaction with other people that way she could learn with environment of Nurture. This turned out not really helpful with the shape she was found, researchers thought that she would never progress into being a regular girl and that came true when she never fully been able to speak just in small fragments and to this day she’s still cant speak well. Dugard was not effected so much as Genie because she was able to socialize in school and with her family, given the opportunity it possessed a positive benefit for her later life. With all she was able to go through and such, she managed to educate her two children with what she knew and in the end they turned out fine along with herself. Any amount of social interaction is going to have a positive benefit for young kids or any age. Involvement in society at a later age is dependent in which one is raised, so the parents have a big part in raising their kid making sure they are having proper social interaction.

Works Citied
McLeod, Saul. “Nature Nurture in Psychology.” Simply psychology. N.p. 2007. Web. 4 Dec 2012.

Cherry Kendra. “Genie: The Story of the Wild Child.” About Psychology. N.p. N.p. Web. 4 Dec 2012.

“Kidnapping of Jaycee Lee Dugard.” Wikipedia. N.p. 2012. Web. 4 Dec 2012.

Lenneberg, E. Biological Foundations of Language. New york. 1967. 4 Dec 2012.

“The secret of the wild child.” PBS. NOVA. 1997. Video. 5 Dec 2012.

Rymer, R. Genie: A scientific tragedy. Harper Collins. New York. 1993. 4 Dec 2012.

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