Human and Normal Life

7 July 2016

?The intent of this essay is to analize the case of Genie, how she became retarded,whether her mental illness was caused by nature or nurture. Also, if Genie’s rehabilitation could be possible if the case was discovered today and how hopeful we would be that the child could lead a normal life in the long term. The sad story of Genie has touched all of us. Is the nature (genes and heredity ) or the nurture(how she was raised,what Genie was raised around and her experiences or rather environment) that led her to this state?

I will be discussing if it’s nature or nurture that suits to explain more her situation and if Genie could lead a normal life if looked after and treated like other normal children. There are four areas of development: physical,intellectual,emotional and social. These are build up during the human development which differentiates depending on the age. The fastest period of development is at the early childhood stage where a child can absorb and memorize information took from the surrounding world very easily.

Human and Normal Life Essay Example

Nativists assume that the characteristics of the human species as a whole are a product of evolution and that individual differences are due to each person’s unique genetic code. Characteristics and differences that are not observable at birth, but which emerge later in life, are regarded as the product of maturation. The classic example of the way this affects our physical development are the bodily changes that occur in early adolescence at puberty.

However nativists also argue that maturation governs the emergence of attachment in infancy, language acquisition and even cognitive development as a whole. The environmentalists basic assumption is that at birth the human mind is a tabula rasa (a blank slate). This theory states that people learn and acquire ideas from external forces, or the environment. Humans are born with an empty mind, having no knowledge whatsoever. People acquire ideas from the surrounding world, turning simple ideas into complex ones.

This blank slate of mind starts off devoid of any knowledge, but then it is “written on” as a person lives and experiences. Therefore, a person has no identity until after birth. From this point of view psychological characteristics and behavioral differences that emerge through infancy and childhood are the result of learning. It is how you are brought up (nurture) that governs the psychologically significant aspects of child development and the concept of maturation applies only to the biological.

For example, when an infant forms an attachment it is responding to the love and attention it has received, language comes from imitating the speech of others and cognitive development depends on the degree of stimulation in the environment and, more broadly, on the civilization within which the child is reared. Chomsky(1965) suggested that language is an innate faculty . That is to say that we are born with a set of rules about language in our heads which he refers to as the ‘Universal Grammar’.

The universal grammar is the basis upon which all human languages build. In the case of Genie,the girl has been kept locked in a room tied to a chair and treated like an animal from the parents. She lacked emotional and social development,both very important to a child at the stages of development during the range of birth to puberty. Maslow talks about how important these things are for a human being but Genie was only given food to live. Nothing else was known to her. The quality of relashionship between parents was really poor.

Bowlby’s (1969) theory of attachment, which views the bond between mother and child as being an innate process that ensures survival. It suggests that children come into the world biologically pre-programmed to form attachments with others, because this will help them to survive. Genie was subject to a maternal care deprivation and the abuse she was subject to was completely inacceptable. If Genie’s case was discovered at the age of 13 today and I was a nurse,psychiatrist a social worker I would be very unsure that Genie could lead a normal life,become completely normal as other children.

There is a critical time period in the human’s life that is the only time one can absorb and develop language and communication skills, which could also explain why Genie never developed these critical tools. In order to learn and interact with others people need socialization. The possibilities that Genie could lead a normal life in a long term are few however,I believe she would definitely be in a much better situation if treated proppelry and she would not have entered in a state of remission. Her rehabilitation and development could be surely possible if followed by a physiotherapist or speech therapist.

Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory is a perspective that states that people learn within a social context. It is facilitated through concepts such as modeling and observational learning. People, especially children, learn from the environment and seek acceptance from society by learning through influential models. Bandura’s bobo doll experiment (Bandura, 1961) demonstrates that if children were witnesses to an aggressive display by an adult they would imitate this aggressive behaviour when given the opportunity.

Genie wouldn’t be retarded if not left locked in a room for many years which means that she wasn’t retarded at birth . The environment where Genie was kept didn’t permit her to civilize, walk or talk. She suffered from an environment where she was not nurtured positively. Skinner (1957) believed that language is learnt from other people via behavior shaping techniques. However Genie was isolated in a room where she had nobody to teach her language and she wasn’t taught how to bahave.

The lack of socialization and neglect are caused by her father and the way he treated her. If genie was retarded at birth,her upbringing still should have been much different. Watson considered that the child was born as a tabula rasa, a blank slate which experience would “write on” to produce a person. He argues that if we were given “a dozen healthy infants… and my own specified world to bring them up in, and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor,lawyer..

and yes,even beggarman and thief , regardless of his talents, perchants, tendencies, abilities, and race of his ancestors “ ( Watson 1924). The thought the environment was really the only thing that was important in an individual’s development. This shows that the environment where she was kept led Genie at this stage. In conclusion, the environment has an important influence and impact on a human being’s physical,social and emotional development. In order to develop,particularly in areas of congnition a human needs to be exposed to new things.

Especially children are affected by their external world. The contast between Environmentalists and nativists make us reflect on how important both genetics and environment are for human development. With regards to all the theories and argument, I am convinced that Genie can be rehabilitated to lead a normal life with the help of child psychiatric, physiotherapist speech therapists ECT. With the help of a speech therapist Genie will surely develop. His case is like an adult how has migrated to a different area or country, with time him or her get to learn the language.

Physical characteristic can be greatly influenced by the environment. Bandura (1977) the social factors are more importance in the formation of personality than biological. This means that the environment we found ourselves can use preferable tools such as practise nutrition ECT. Cited in Hayes (2003). There is some method of development that needs to be practice daily, walking is a major factor; for a child to be able to walk he needs a support. This means with the help of physiotherapist Genie would be able to walk perfectly “practice makes man perfect”.

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