If you've ever taken a psychology class or read about feral children, then you've probably heard mention of the child known as Genie. For most of her first 13 years, she lived a life of utter deprivation. Much of her childhood was spent tied to a potty chair in an empty room. She was rarely spoken to, and her father often beat her when she would make noise.
By the time she was discovered at age 13, Genie was malnourished and unable to use language. Her story made headlines and also captured the attention of psychologists and linguists. Could a child who had missed the critical period for language development ever learn to speak and communicate normally?
A rehabilitation and research team set out to answer that question, but professional rivalries and debates over the girl's treatment posed major problems. Her tragic case serves not only as an example of the effects of social deprivation, but inspires debate about whether the research on Genie interfered with her treatment.
Learn more about her story and what happened to the young girl known as Genie.