VIDEO WORKSHEET: Secret of the Wild Child

For this module, we will be watching a rather famous documentary, Secret of the Wild Child.  It tells the shocking, real-life story of “Genie,” a girl who was raised in social isolation. The video also presents other case studies of feral children. The video illustrates some of the main concepts from Chapter 4 especially the process of socialization and the role of nature and nurture in the development of self.

Watch the video and respond to the following prompts. You will need to be thoughtful and thorough, and include specific examples and details from the video in your responses. This requires more than a few sentences for each prompt. Do not give me a transcript of the video without proper citation, rather I am interested in hearing in your own words what you learned from watching, and how it connects to the overall themes of the chapter. Please number your responses (but don’t include the questions themselves).

Describe the circumstances surrounding the discovery of “Genie”.

What were the scientists who worked with Genie trying to prove?

What is the “forbidden experiment” and how was the discovery in 1800 of Victor in France a model of that kind of experiment?

Explain the “critical period” hypothesis of language acquisition. (Warning: do not look this up on Google or some other outside source, please refer to how it is discussed in the video only).

What was problematic about the treatment and testing of Genie, and how was her case ultimately handled?

Do you think that Genie was exploited in the name of science? Why or why not?