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Human Isolation


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#1 QuickSilver1024

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 11:28 PM

Im doing an essay on human isolation, and I need some help in writing it. All I need is your comments and ideas.

When I say human isolation, I mean a complete isolation from humans, rite after birth till death. What will it do to this human? His instincts, his mind, his movements, will it be any different than our own? Will this human act like our ancesters? The effects on this human when its a baby (nobody to learn off of) Will he know how to express his feelings? (facial expressions) If he even knows how. And effects during teenage and adulthood. Will puberty hit sooner or later compared to us? How would he be different? Physically and mentally. And what will happen if this human come face to face with another human. How will he react?

Please reply with your comments and ideas

Theres whole bunch of other questions that should be pretty obvious, please include them in your reply

Thanx
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#2 fafalone

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 11:38 PM

What environment is this person isolated in? If it were in the wild, I suspect instincts would play a larger role than in society. Puberty would hit when it did with our ancestors; as its onset is influenced by nutrition. Language skills would certainly not develop. Facial expressions of emotion would be retained; as these exist due to evolutionary advantage.
If this person came face to face with another human, it would not be a big deal since it's also an evolutionary advantage to act favorably in encounters with ones own species and their wouldn't be resource competition to stimulate otherwise.
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#3 Radical Edward

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 11:42 PM

s/he'd starve.
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#4 fafalone

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 11:46 PM

Unlikely, a few thousand years of civilization haven't erased millions of years of evolution.
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#5 Radical Edward

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 11:48 PM

total isolation from right after birth.... I'd like to see a newborn baby survive alone in any environment.
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#6 fafalone

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Posted 26 January 2003 - 11:51 PM

One can assume the idea of this paper goes to assuming the child made it functional age, since no teacher, anywhere, ever, would assign an essay intended to be answered by one sentence.
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#7 QuickSilver1024

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 12:12 AM

you guys are harsh.... :-( im just a normal 15 year old....NORMAL is the key word there
Its effects of isolation. Not whether or not this person actually makes it to watever age.
Also, wat instincts are already programmed into our head? Which ones do we have to learn?
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#8 QuickSilver1024

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 12:14 AM

oh, and this wasnt an assigned essay fafalone . I chose this subject
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#9 fafalone

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 03:55 AM

Well if they're dead, whether their body is isolated or not won't really have too much of an effect on them.
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#10 QuickSilver1024

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 05:46 AM

.......no kiddin
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#11 QuickSilver1024

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 05:49 AM

Anyways..thanks for all the help
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#12 Matzi

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 03:00 PM

One former emperor tried this and isolated two children. They both died (I've already mentioned this somewhere else, I think).
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#13 Radical Edward

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 07:05 PM

Originally posted by fafalone
One can assume the idea of this paper goes to assuming the child made it functional age, since no teacher, anywhere, ever, would assign an essay intended to be answered by one sentence.


perhaps the students would get top marks for pointing out the obvious, much in the same way a couple of notorious philosophy students did.
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#14 fafalone

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 08:26 PM

Or perhaps they would receive a failing grade.
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#15 Brittaney

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 12:45 AM

human isolation affects people not only on a social level... but on a mental level as well. isolation would affect the way that person thinks. people tend to regress when isolated go back to their barbaric roots. they lose all sense of humanity compassion and reason. and survival becomes their first priority... i kinda rambled just now but i hope it helps... even in the slightest
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#16 1veedo

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 01:11 AM

C'mon you guys do know he's assuming the child is fed and everything. Social isolation is the key word here. There is a plethora of research abotu this. Many developmental theories rely on social development which is impossible if the child is isolated. (eg George Herbert's social self and Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral development)

The beginning of chapter 3 in my sociology book Society 8 ed is a story about a girl named Anna who was isolated from birth till age five. Anna never fully recovered. "Anna's case makes clear the fact that humans depend on others to privde the care needed not just for physical growth but for opiersonality to develop."

There's a lot of studies for this sort of thing done on monkeys. Look up Harry and Margaret Harlow, for instance. Completely isolation for six months damages development. If they are put in a room with a "fake" mother they fair a little better.
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#17 psiji

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 08:51 PM

Keep in mind that we are a very social species. We've spent nearly everyday of our lives in daily contact with other people. Attempting to put yourself in an imaginary situation where you could bear witness to such a person is a pretty difficult task to achieve. Even in cases of children being raised in some kind of isolation there has been minimal human contact (someone had to feed Anna still), or animal contact (i.e. feral children). Besides the obvious technical difficulties pointed out here, we can assume the child would be nearly mentally retarded. It seems impossible that the child would learn to feed itself. Without developing speech the child's analytic skills would be broken down into some primal instinct-driven chain of basic stimulus-response functions. This will essentially eliminate the possibility of our conception of "personality" to develop.

When you break it down into it's most basic level you see that personality is a collective system of responses to socio-environmental stimuli (or cues). You laugh because you find a joke funny. For other people that joke (stimuli) provides no response (laugh). There is nothing objectively inherent to a joke that makes it funny. It's a response to acquired dispositions to certain acts of behavior (laugh, get embarrassed, scold the joke-teller for utilizing dirty humor, etc.). For our fictional human a joke isn't even a stimulus. It's noise with no meaning.

There would be no personality. There would be no innate knowledge of personal grooming, exercise, love, etc. All of these things require some background - something to base its response on.

Perhaps the child could learn to feed itself, pleasure itself with genital stimulation, build very primitive shelter, and maybe use basic tools that require minimal shaping. There would be a number of instincts that could take over, but I wouldn't say with certainty what they would could be. Keep in mind, we have evolved as a social species and any instinct we may have will probably have some social conotations.

Either way I highly doubt anything impressing will develop. Definitely take into consideration the fact that any thought on this matter is completely theoretical. There have been no cases studies of people being raised in complete isolation.

Besides the clear limitations and ethical aspects of such a scenario it is a cool question and would provide and interesting thought experiment.
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#18 1veedo

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 02:39 PM

Either way I highly doubt anything impressing will develop. Definitely take into consideration the fact that any thought on this matter is completely theoretical. There have been no cases studies of people being raised in complete isolation.

Well you call it theoretical and to be theoretical there must necessarily be some form of evidence for the hypothesis, eg case studies. And in reality, there is external evidence, including a couple case studies, that illustrate what happens when a child is put in complete social isolation. For moral reasons we can't just stuff a baby in a closet to see what happens, but parents have put their kids in closets on their own and it is from these case studies that we know what happens when humans are isolated from social contact.

Furthermore, there have been numerous experiments on monkeys (and chimps for those of you who get mad when people call chimps "monkeys") that show the same results. This isn't speculation or anything. We know for a fact what happens when you isolate people. Anna is a good example.

"Enraged by his daughters 'illegitimate' motherhood, the grandfather did not even want the child in his house. For her first six months, Anna was shuttled among various welfare agencies. But when her mother was no longer able to pay for care, Anna returned to the hostile home of her grandfather.

To lessen the grandfather's anger, Anna's mother kept the child in the storage room. She gave the child just enough milk to keep her alive, but she gave her no loving attention, no smiles, month after month, with almost no human contact, for five long years.

When he heard about the discovery of Anna, sociologist Kingsley Davis (1040) immediately went to see the child. He found her being cared for by the local authorities at a county home. Davis was appalled by the sight of the emaciated girl, who could not laugh, speak, or even smile. Anna was completely unresponsive, as if alone in an empty world."


This is just basic sociology. When you get to college psiji (you cant be in college right now or you'd already know this), make sure you take psychology and sociology.


"Here is a horrible case of a child who was completely deprived of social contact. Although physically alive, Anna hardly seemed human. Her plight reveals that without social experience, a human being is incapable of thought, emotion, or meaningful action, seeming more an object than a person.

Sociologists use the term socialization to refer to the lifelong social experience by which individuals develop their human potential and learn culture. Unlike other living species, whose behavior is biologically set, humans need social experience to learn their culture and survive. Social experience is also the basis of personality, a person's fairly consistent patterns of acting, thinking, and feeling. We build a personality by internalizing -- taking in -- our surroundings. But without social experience, as Annas case shows, personality simply does not develop at all."

...monkey experiments with the Harlows
"The rest of Anna;s story squares with the Harlow's findings. After her discovery, Anna received extensive social contact and soon showed improvement. When Kingsly Davis (1940) revisited her after ten days, he found her more alert and even smiling with obvious pleasure. Over the next year, Anna made slow but steady progress, showing more interest in other people and gradually learning to walk. After a year and a half, she could feed herself and play with toys.

As the Harlows might have predicted, however, Anna's five years of social isolation had caused permanent damage. At age eight, her mental development was still less of a two-uear-old. Not until she was almost ten did she begin to use words. Because Anna's mother was mentally retarded, perhaps Anna was similarly challenged. The riddle was never solved, however, because Anna died at age ten of a blood disorder, possibly related to the years of abuse she suffered (davis, 1940, 1947).

A more recent case of childhood isolation involves a California girl abused by her parents (Curtiss, 1977; Rymer, 1994). From the time she was two, Genie was tied to a potty chair in a dark garage. In 1970, when she was rescued at age thirteen, Genie weighed only fifty-nine pounds and had the mental development of a one-uear-old. With intensive treatment, she became physically healthy, but her language ability remains that of a young child. Today Genie lives in a home for developmentally disabled adults.

All evidence points to the crucial role of social experience in forming personality. Human beings can sometimes recover from abuse and isolation. Although it is unclear exactly when, there is a point at which isolation in infancy causes permanent developmental damage."
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#19 psiji

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 03:23 PM

Well you call it theoretical and to be theoretical there must necessarily be some form of evidence for the hypothesis, eg case studies. And in reality, there is external evidence, including a couple case studies, that illustrate what happens when a child is put in complete social isolation. For moral reasons we can't just stuff a baby in a closet to see what happens, but parents have put their kids in closets on their own and it is from these case studies that we know what happens when humans are isolated from social contact.



What? None of these studies you point on take place with children raised in complete isolation. The logical absurdity of your claim suggests you didn't understand the clear message I was pointing out. There is always some form of human contact (except in the case of feral children, which brings up a completely seperate set of questions). Someone has to feed the children (even Anna). As I said, there isn't complete isolation. If you are claiming a child can grow into an adult with complete isolation I suggest you take a basic biology or child development class.

Furthermore, there have been numerous experiments on monkeys (and chimps for those of you who get mad when people call chimps "monkeys") that show the same results. This isn't speculation or anything. We know for a fact what happens when you isolate people. Anna is a good example.


Not complete isolation.

"Enraged by his daughters 'illegitimate' motherhood, the grandfather did not even want the child in his house. For her first six months, Anna was shuttled among various welfare agencies. But when her mother was no longer able to pay for care, Anna returned to the hostile home of her grandfather.

To lessen the grandfather's anger, Anna's mother kept the child in the storage room. She gave the child just enough milk to keep her alive, but she gave her no loving attention, no smiles, month after month, with almost no human contact, for five long years.


"...with almost no human contact." Do you make a point of contradicting yourself when you attempt to make a point? Human contact does not equal complete isolation.


This is just basic sociology. When you get to college psiji (you cant be in college right now or you'd already know this), make sure you take psychology and sociology.


And your ability to waste everyone's time posting irrelevant and off-topic information with complete disregard for logical consistency some how revokes the pseudo-intellectual posts you attempt to make with references and verbatim quotes that have nothing to do with my post.

It's a little beyond basic psychology when you argue that personality is formed by a series of s-r laws created within the individual as a response of their genetic predispositions to their environment (= basically what I've come to find as a pretty good operation definition of personality = genes should get primacy at the most fundamental level since the existence of an environment necessarily entails the existence of genes to respond to the environment).

Did you pay attention to anything I posted? I highly doubt it because this post is completely irrelevant and most likely plagairized. I bet you're the type of person that finds a single sentence you don't agree with in a person's post, and without even attempting to understand the point brought up by that person you will respond with a diatribe on some irrelevant topic in hopes that quotes without a bibliography will impress those that read it to the point they assume you are correct. News break: this doesn't fly, as I'm sure you'll find this out when you get to college.

All evidence points to the crucial role of social experience in forming personality. Human beings can sometimes recover from abuse and isolation. Although it is unclear exactly when, there is a point at which isolation in infancy causes permanent developmental damage."


Once again...isolation does not equal complete isolation. I was arguing for a thought experiment in the unfeasibility of a child being raised in complete isolation. What remenants of a personality that develop in a child of some isolation (there have been no cases of complete isolation) is the byproduct from some experience with other people.


Future hint: attempt to understand something before you criticize it. If you had utilized this ability you'd see that all this bickering argued over the semantics that leads up to the following thesis we both agree upon (reread my post): social experience is necessary for personality to form.
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#20 1veedo

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 08:23 PM

Yes, I understand your point about complete isolation. The question isn't about being in complete isolation though because the child would, quite literally (and obviously), die. Probably because of starvation/dehydration. The question is about social isolation. These studies were studies about being socially isolated and what that does to you. This is exactly what I was talking about above; people we're thinking (and rightly so) "total isolation from right after birth.... I'd like to see a newborn baby survive alone in any environment." (Radical Edward)

This is what you're doing too.[quote name='psiji]What? None of these studies you point on take place with children raised in complete isolation. The logical absurdity of your claim suggests you didn't understand the clear message I was pointing out. There is always some form of human contact (except in the case of feral children, which brings up a completely seperate set of questions). Someone has to feed the children (even Anna). As I said, there isn't complete isolation. If you are claiming a child can grow into an adult with complete isolation I suggest you take a basic biology or child development class.[/quote]Well I assumed you knew what I meant. I made it very clear above that the key word was social isolation.[quote']social experience is necessary for personality to form.[/quote]I believe this is the only correct thing you thing you've said in this entire thread.

If you want to talk about complete isolation, that's fine. I'm assuming complete isolation from birth leads to death. If not... that's possible, but I doubt it.

However, it is a straw man to equivocate complete isolation with social isolation. It may be true that the OP really meant complete and total isolation, but I'm assuming he's referring to the sort of isolation that most psychologists and sociologists talk about. If not, then my bad; I'm not always that great at reading between the lines, but I'm pretty sure this is what QuickSilver1024 was talking about. I've never read anything about "complete" isolation before in my life; the only sort of isolation I've ever read about are cases such as Anna.
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