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Episode 248      

popular Wiki of the Day Episode 249

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      Episode 250

Genie (feral child)
Sun, 2018-Jan-07 01:51 UTC
Length - 4:59


Welcome to popular Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a popular Wikipedia page every day.

With 197,330 views on Saturday, 6 January 2018 our article of the day is Genie (feral child).

Genie (born 1957) is the pseudonym for an American feral child who was a victim of severe abuse, neglect, and social isolation. Her circumstances are prominently recorded in the annals of linguistics and abnormal child psychology. When she was a baby her father concluded that she was severely mentally retarded, a view which intensified as she got older, causing him to dislike her and withhold care and attention. At approximately the time she reached the age of 20 months he decided to keep her as socially isolated as possible as a result of this belief, so from that time until she reached the age of 13 years and 7 months he kept her locked alone in a room. During this time he almost always kept her strapped to a child's toilet or bound her in a crib with her arms and legs completely immobilized, forbade anyone from interacting with her, provided her with almost no stimulation of any kind, and left her severely malnourished. The extent of her isolation prevented her from being exposed to any significant amount of speech, and as a result she did not acquire language during her childhood. Her abuse came to the attention of Los Angeles child welfare authorities on November 4, 1970.

In the first several years after Genie's early life and circumstances came to light, psychologists, linguists, and other scientists focused a great deal of attention on Genie's case, seeing in her near-total isolation a unique chance to study many aspects of human development. Upon determining that Genie had not yet learned a language, linguists saw Genie as providing an opportunity to gain further insight into the processes controlling language acquisition skills and to test theories and hypotheses identifying critical periods during which humans learn to understand and use language. Throughout the time scientists studied Genie, she made substantial advances with her overall mental and psychological development. Within months of being discovered Genie had developed exceptional nonverbal communication skills, and gradually learned some basic social skills, but even by the end of their case study, she still exhibited many behavioral traits characteristic of an unsocialized person. She also continued to learn and use new language skills throughout the time they tested her, but ultimately remained unable to fully acquire a first language.

Authorities initially arranged for Genie's admission to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where a team of doctors and psychologists managed her care for several months, and her subsequent living arrangements became the subject of rancorous and protracted debate. In late June 1971 she left the hospital to live with her teacher at the hospital, but a month and a half later authorities placed her with the family of the scientist heading the research team, where she lived for almost four years. Soon after turning 18, in mid-1975, Genie returned to live with her mother, who after a few months decided she could not adequately care for her. Authorities then moved her in the first of what would become a series of institutions for disabled adults, and the people running it cut her off from almost everyone she knew and subjected her to extreme physical and emotional abuse. As a result, her physical and mental health severely deteriorated, and her newly acquired language and behavioral skills very rapidly regressed.

In January 1978 Genie's mother suddenly forbade all scientific observations and testing of Genie, and since that time little is known of her circumstances. As of July 2016 her whereabouts were uncertain, although she is believed to be living in the care of the state of California. Psychologists and linguists continue to discuss her, and there is considerable academic and media interest in her development and the research team's methods. In particular, scientists have compared Genie to Victor of Aveyron, a nineteenth-century French child who was also the subject of a case study in delayed psychological development and late language acquisition.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:51 UTC on Sunday, 7 January 2018.

For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genie_(feral_child).

This podcast is produced by Abulsme Productions based on Wikipedia content and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

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