What happens if a child is deprived of appropriate stimulation during critical periods of development? Consider the story of Genie. From the time she was 20 months old until authorities rescued her at age 13, Genie was locked alone in a tiny, windowless room. By day, she sat naked and tied to a chair with nothing to do and no one to talk to. At night, she was put in a kind of straitjacket and “caged” in a covered crib. Genie’s tale is a heartbreaking account of the lasting scars from a disastrous childhood.
After reading about early language development and watching the video, please answer the following questions in a thorough response:
- Does Genie’s case prove that there is a critical period for language development? Why or why not?
- Which side of the “nature versus nurture” debate does Genie’s case best support (human development and behavior is the result of nature (heredity) and of nurture (environmental influences)? What is the potential impact on language development?
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