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Ducklings, geese and other birds must see and follow their mother within a short time after birth in order to become attached to her; the ducklings are then said to become imprinted on the mother to ensure their survival.
We are most uniquely susceptible to forming close emotional ties during the first 3 years
Should we have little or no opportunity to do so during this period, we would find it difficult to make close friends or to enter into intimate emotional relationships with other people later in life
Critical period for attachment is first 3 years (Boehm, Unit II, pgs. 8-12)
Some parents who suffer from various life stresses (prolonged illnesses, depression, an unhappy marriage, poverty), may be routinely inattentive or neglectful, so that the infant’s cries rarely promote any contact with them
Critical Period of Attachment in Humans (Class Packet, p. 94-96) “GENIE” A CASE STUDY Autumn Edge 1970's Case Study
“ Genie” & the critical periods for attachment, language, socialization, emotions
Genie's story is a complicated and sad one.
It is a terribly important case, says Harlan Lane, a psycholinguist at Northeastern University who wrote The Wild Boy of Aveyron . Since our morality doesn’t allow us to conduct deprivation experiments with human beings, these unfortunate people are all we have to go on.
13- year- old Genie was discovered. Genie did not have any sense of language and grew up in almost complete isolation, alone day and night for 11 years in a back bedroom.
Her only words when found were "stop it." Her father claimed that Genie was “mentally retarded,” so that is why she spent her days tied to a potty seat and nights in a sleeping bag that was designed so she could not move (similar to a straight jacket). She had been severely abused.
It was the first time scientists could test the Critical Period Hypothesis and how it affects first language acquisition. Feral Children (children that have not grown up with any human contact) throughout history have been the only way scientists have been able to test language capacities after a child has passed the critical period of language development.
November 1970, Genie was found and taken to L.A. Children's Hospital. Her father was charged with child abuse and committed suicide one week before his trial.
At Children's Hospital Genie had several doctors: for language , for psychology , for psychiatry , for special education . These doctors wanted to see through Genie if language was innate (Chomsky) or if it had to be learned before the age of puberty (Lemmeberg).
Jean Butler was Genie's first foster caregiver. She only stayed with Butler for a short time. David Riggler took Genie into his home and she stayed with his family for 4 years.
At the age of 18, Genie returned to the care of her mother. After a few months her mother found her too difficult. Her mother sued the Children's Hospital for excessive research and not considering the best interest of the patient (the case was settled outside of court).
Genie was then put into a foster home where she was severally abused. This abuse caused a lapse in her speech gains from the hospital and she never spoke again like she did the first four years after her being found. She lived in 6 different foster care homes after this. Currently she is in the care of an adult foster home in southern California.
Genie had missed the critical periods for language, attachment , and social and emotional behaviors (Class Packet, p. 94-96)
Results for Genie Genie was rescued from a situation in which she was beaten every time she made noise or tried to speak. She was only given baby food and cereal to eat. When she was admitted to the hospital, she was 54 inches tall and weighed only 62 pounds. She could hardly stand, chew solid foods, and could not make sounds.
Genie did not acquire language as hoped, but only learned about 100 words over a 4 year period. It is unclear if her inability to acquire language was due to the fact that she had missed her critical period or because of the severe trauma she had suffered.
Ethology : Examples of other traits & behaviors humans have inherited:
1. Rituals that precede mating:
By studying videotapes of young humans, ethologists found that teenage girls in 9 different cultures flirt in exactly the same way – they use the same facial expressions and the same movements of the head and eyes