Genie Case Study Where Is She Now

Genie was 24 years old when this article was written in 1981.

Through years of rehabilitation and special training, she has been observed and repeatedly tested. She has been the subject of several journal articles and a book.

Genie, as she was later dubbed to protect her privacy by the psycholinguists who tested her, could not stand erect.

At the time, she was unable to speak: she could only whimper.

Nor did they know how to evaluate whatever language she had: to what degree did it deviate from the standard pattern? Fromkin, a UCLA psycholinguist, to study Genies language abilities.

Fromkin brought along a graduate student, Susan Curtiss (now an assistant professor of linguistics at UCLA), who became so fascinated by Genie that she devoted much of the next seven years of her life to researching the girls linguistic development. Although she had learned to walk with a jerky motion and became more or less toilet trained during her first seven months at Childrens Hospital, Genie still had many disconcerting habits.As a result, new research is now in progress on the surprising language ability of some mentally retarded children.As described in Curtisss book, Genie: A Psycholinguistic Study of a Modern-Day Wild Child (Academic Press), Genie is living proof of human resilience. Her father apparently hated children and tried to strangle Genies mother while she was pregnant with her first child.Only a few cases are recorded of human beings who have grown up without any real contact with other humans.So rare is the phenomenon that when a 12-year-old wild boy was found in the forest of Aveyron in 18th-century France, the government ordered him brought to Paris to be examined by doctors in an institution for deaf-mutes.Its a terribly important case, says Harlan Lane, a psycholinguist at Northeastern University who wrote The Wild Boy of Aveyron.Since our morality doesnt allow us to conduct deprivation experiments with human beings, these unfortunate people are all we have to go on.There he came under the care of the physician Jean Itard, who also acted as the boys tutor.Itard left detailed records of his experience, which was later dramatized in the 1970 movie The Wild Child.The social worker in the welfare office took one look at Genie and called her supervisor, who called the police.Genie was sent to the Los Angeles Childrens Hospital for tests.


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