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  1. “A Wild Child”Nova – originally aired on March 4, 1997 The Socialization Unit

  2. Why was the girl featured called “Genie?” (not Jeanie, Geanie, Jeannie, Geannie, etc.) • Not her birth name • A genie is a creature that emerges into human society past childhood

  3. When was she “discovered?” • November 4, 1970 • Born April 18, 1957

  4. Where was she found? • Locked in a room – tied to a potty chair • Arcadia, California – suburb of LA

  5. What were the conditions in which she lived/ was being raised? • Tied to a potty chair • Little to look at • No one to talk to • Had to be quiet / was beaten for making noise

  6. What behaviors were observed at Children’s Hospital? • Infantile sounds • Had learned NOT to vocalize • Was beaten for making noise • Strange “bunny walk” • Spat • Sniffed • Clawed

  7. Was Genie’s brain damaged from social isolation OR was she mentally retarded? • NOTE: Team members even disagreed on this! • Sleep studies revealed deep spindles – an abnormal brain activity indicating brain deficiency / retardation • Her biological father thought Genie was retarded and kept her isolated. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

  8. What makes us human? • Language seems to be the answer!!!! • While some may say “walking upright” but orangutans walk upright

  9. Who was Victor? • A wild child from France • “the forbidden experiment” – a six year shared awakening experience • Learned simple words – never really learned how to talk. • Died in his 40s in 1828 • Was of keen interest to the Genie team

  10. What was the critical period hypothesis? • The belief that there exists a deadline for acquiring knowledge. IF language – a first language, is not learned by puberty, then it won’t be attained.

  11. How does Genie’s story end? • Caregivers wanted to Genie’s life to be better than Victor’s. • Sign language was introduced and actively incorporated. • 1974: Research funding stopped due to a failure to collect data in a scientific way. • Riglers did their best and a year later ended their foster care of Genie. =>

  12. 1975: Genie’s mother, cleared of child abuse charges, took Genie back but couldn’t handle her resulting in multiple foster care placements. • Genie’s mother gets a law suit against the team for excessive testing. • 1st foster home: severe punishment for vomiting – ended up back at Children’s Hosp. – regressed wouldn’t open her mouth

  13. At least 6 placements – eventually ended up at an adult care home. • Key questions remain… • Do you think that the research team/ social science professionals had Genie’s best interests at heart or were they self-serving?

  14. Things to consider… • Rigorous science / scientific approach = Genie comes 2nd • Scientist and therapist roles cannot be mixed

  15. Can a nurturing environment make up for a most nightmarish past? • What do you think? • Why?

  16. What now? • Genie’s “discovery” was 1970. • A book, Genie: An Abused Child’s Flight from Silence aka Genie: A Scientific Tragedy”, was published in 1993. • NOVA documentary was aired in 1997. • TIPS -Society for Teaching of Psychology postings in 2004 AND 2007 (teacher rdgs.)

  17. Then comes 2008 and Josef Fritzl…

  18. 2008 • May 1, 2008: British newspaper, The Sun, publishes: “Monster Fritzl’s ‘animal’ children” • The two boys plucked from monster Josef Fritzl’s dungeon talk to each other with animal like growls. • One walks like a Monkey, sometimes crawling on all fours.

  19. Distribution of The Sun article • How does this relate to Genie? • Genie – a renewed curiosity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! • Class readings of ABC News Reports