Nature versus Nurture: Feral Children and the Study of Twins
The debate over whether child development is primarily influenced by biological factors or environmental factors is a longstanding source of controversy that may never be fully resolved. In the case studies we have recently learned about such as Genie, Viktor, Oksana, and Edic, it seems that nurture was shown to have a profound effect on these particular children. The effect of nature could be seen as their treatment progressed allowing them to show emotion and establish relationships.
The Case of Genie
Genie was the code name given to a little girl that was discovered in California in 1970 at the age of 13 after being locked up in a small room since birth (Pines, 1981). When Genie was found she couldn’t speak, she could barely walk, she was severely malnourished and she had not started puberty yet. Her discovery drew the interest of numerous different psychologists, neurologists and linguists. They were all curious as to what her mental ability was after 13 years of isolation and whether or not her mind would develop to the point where she would be normal.
The team of scientists and therapists that worked with Genie has been accused of being unethical in their treatment and care of Genie. This accusation stems from the fact that Genie lived with several members of this team and some of them were close to her and became attached to her. Had the scientists and therapists not lived with Genie, the treatment and care of Genie would likely not have been considered unethical. While the scientists could be viewed as unethical, the National Institute of Mental Health cut the funding to her project in 1974 and the scientists felt the need to take charge of her instead of another foster family (Pines, 1981).
Genie’s full recuperation from years in isolation was never really possible in my opinion. It is my belief that once children have reached a certain age, their brain can...