Case studies of children raised in extreme isolation

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A-Levels Psychology A-Level AQA A (Unit 1 Attachment and early social development) Mind Map on Case studies of children raised in extreme isolation, created by moeingthelawn on 05/11/2014.

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Created by moeingthelawn over 5 years ago
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Case studies of children raised in extreme isolation


  • Case studies of children who have been raised in isolated and deprived circumstances demonstrate two things: - Some children never recover from their early privation - Other children show remarkable recovery
1 KOLUCHOVA (1976)
1.1.1 Male, identical twins
1.1.2 Mother died after giving birth so twins went to children's home for 11 months, then went to aunt for 6 months, then to father and stepmother Stepmother treated the twins harshly and cruelly, isolating them from the outside world (kept in closet or cellar, and never allowed outside the house)
1.1.3 Discovered at 7 y/o Twins could hardly walk;developed rickets; poor speech; cognitive level very low for age
1.1.4 Twins placed in school for children with learning disabilities and then adopted by a woman who showed much affection and attention Twins soon caught up with other children; went to ordinary school; IQ was normal for age; both finished school
1.2.1 Strengths Effects of privation were evident When rescued from father and stepmother, twins were very behind developmentally Case study used different research methods (observations, interviews, IQ test) Lots of rich, in-depth data gathered Longitudinal study Studied in great detail over years Conclusions can be drawn about effects of privation and whether it is reversible
1.2.2 Weaknesses Twins had each other and therefore could have formed attachments with each other May have enabled them to eventually overcome effects of privation Twins were with aunt and in institutional care first May have formed attachments with carers and aunt May have suffered deprivation instead of privation Although Koluchova later visited the twins as adults, there may be underlying anxieties and issues that Koluchova was not able to detect
2 CURTISS (1977): Genie
2.1.1 Genie Kept strapped to a child's potty all day Was punished by father if she made any sound Isolated, severely neglected, and physically restrained Separated from rest of family
2.1.2 Discovered at 13 y/o Made virtually no sounds; hardly able to walk; never achieved good social adjustment; language was basic and very low for age Genie did improve socially and cognitively, particularly being able to use language However, her development was never normal and she never did catch up developmentally to other people her age
2.2.1 Strengths Lots of rich, thorough, and in-depth data gathered, both qualitative and quantitative Multiple research methods used Given a pseudonym to keep anonymity - ethical strength Primary aim of study was to provide good quality care for Genie and help her develop normally
2.2.2 Weaknesses Would Genie have developed normally if she did not experience privation? Inability to develop normally may have been due to inherent problems/genetics Despite the care provided, she was still the subject of a study Exposed to a great deal of research, observations and psychological testing and questioning Inappropriate treatment
2.3 Why did Genie fail to recover from privation while the twins were able to grow up developmentally healthy?
2.3.1 Genie was discovered at the age of 13, whereas the twins were discovered at the age of 7. It may have been that Genie was beyond the age of repair when she was helped.
2.3.2 The twins had each other, whereas Genie was completely isolated and on her own. Genie's mother claimed to have had a relationship with her. However, when the mother was interviewed during Genie's study, she appeared to be giving answers that she thought the researchers would want to hear. Therefore, her comments were not reliable.
2.3.3 The twins were able to experience loving care from carers and their aunt. On the other hand, there is uncertainty about the quality of foster care that Genie received as the identity of her carer was not stable and consistent
2.3.4 There may have been individual differences between Genie and the twins which could have lead to the treatment that they received.

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