THE WILD CHILD OF AVEYRON

At the end of the 18. century, a child was found living alone in the forest, deprived of human communication, near the Aveyron forests in the south of France. This child, taken under the supervision of Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, one of the period's most famous doctors and trainers, was given the name ‘Victor’. As a result of studies and studies conducted with Victor, it has been shown that early life periods are much more critical in human development than previously thought. The inferences made from the studies have been the forerunner of many studies in the fields of psychology and linguistics.

Mar 19, 2024 - 01:34
Mar 20, 2024 - 14:16
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THE WILD CHILD OF AVEYRON
THE WILD CHILD OF AVEYRON

In 1797, in France, a boy who was naked on top did not speak a word to people and showed completely wild movements came down from the Aveyron forests to the village of Lacaune. The boy, who was captured by the villagers, escaped from the hands of the villagers as soon as he had the opportunity. Later, he was captured again by other villagers and fed and clothed, but the boy, restless among people, had Decamped again. He will not have perceived people as a threat, which later on, when he needed food, he started coming down to the village Dec Dec. While this cycle was continuing in this way, in the winter of 1800, the child was captured again by the villagers and began to be cared for. The child was not talking to anyone; he was making meaningless noises, his clothes were strange, and most importantly, he was walking on two hands and feet. The story of this wild child is about the king of period 1. Napoleon's brother Lucian Bonaparte had heard of it and ordered the boy to be brought to the city and examined by specialists. When the examinations were made on the child, he had just entered adolescence; it was concluded that he was probably 12 years old. The wild child, named Victor by the doctors, is being trained by Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, one of the famous doctors and trainers of the period. Victor was very interested in the people of France at that time. So much so that people formed queues in front of the house every day to see Victor.

 

Victor, who began to be trained by Itard, was only interested in eating and sleeping. He was alert and aggressive at every moment. His senses were intact, but he was not paying attention. He could not distinguish between hot and cold; he had no hesitation in putting his hand into boiling water. The concept of the pain threshold did not seem to exist in Victor. When we looked at these features in detail, Victor had not communicated with people while living in the forest. There were only animals around. Therefore, he did not know how people of his kind behave. However, he had seen animals and copied their communication patterns and movements, so social learning had taken place. Like an animal, he focused only on something when his survival instincts kicked in. At other times, he did not need to pay attention, use his senses, and was not conditioned. While the training was going on, Victor's intelligence had been the subject of discussion. According to Pinel, who specializes in the mentally disabled and mental health, Victor was an uneducable idiot. Other experts also argued that Victor was an idiot and uneducable. But Itard had not given up. Believing in the ’Tabula Rasa' theory, Itard believed that Victor had consciousness as empty as a newborn baby, if he was trained correctly and effectively, he could improve. Over time, some improvements had begun to occur in Victor. He could distinguish between hot and cold. For example, he looked at the water temperature before going into the shower, and put on his clothes when it was cold; he got under the blanket. He also enjoyed cuddling. There had been significant increases in communication with people. He enjoys spending time with people and now he can empathize. The fact that the child's Caretaker Guerin, who puts the same number of plates on the table every day, cried when she saw the plate when her husband died, lifted the plate, and never put it down again, that is, realized that something was wrong as a result of the act of crying, made psychologists think that she could build the ability to empathize. Later, for the first time, he used one of the human ways of expressing an emotion crying. However, Victor's development speed was not at the desired level despite all this. As a result of literacy training, he gradually began to distinguish sounds that he could not distinguish at first. after 5 years of training, he could distinguish very few written words and could distinguish a few words when he heard them. But Victor still could not speak. There were meaningless sounds that he used against events. But these were no more than a few meaningless sounds that he used against every event. at the end of 6 years, the trainings were stopped. Itard had given up and now wanted to work with children he could fix.

 

Despite all this, Victor had opened an important door in the world of science, even though he could not completely recover on his own. He had increased the interest in the education of children with intellectual disabilities. The idea that children with mental retardation could acquire at least some basic skills had developed a little. Among all these developments, the most important was the emergence of the concept of ‘critical process’ in language development. According to this theory, it is impossible for someone who has not been exposed to language to learn a language until a certain age. Victor led a quiet life until his death at the age of 40. His story has been the subject of books and on the white screen. In short, as the wild child of Victor Aveyron, he has taken an important place in the history of psychology and linguistics.

If you want to witness Victor's story, I suggest you watch the movie about Victor's story called ‘The Wild Child’.

 

References:

Çelebi, H. E. (2024, Ocak 20). Aveyron'un Vahşi Çocuğu. Y'ol Psikoloji: retrieved from https://www.yolpsikoloji.com.tr/post/aveyron-un-vahşi̇ -çocuğu

Kaşikçi, E. (2021, Kasim 23). Yıllarca Ormanda Tek Başına Hayatta Kalan Çocuğun Hayatınız Boyunca Unutamayacağınız Çarpıcı Hikayesi. Web Tecno: retrieved from https://www.webtekno.com/psikoloji-tarihinin-en-ilginc-vakalarindan olan- aveyron-vahsi-cocugu-h116741.html

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Rana Gülşen Pekel Merhaba, ben Rana Gülşen PEKEL. Çağ Üniversitesi’nde Psikoloji Bölümü 4. Sınıf öğrencisiyim. Deneysel Psikoloji, Nöropsikoloji, Fizyolojik Psikoloji, Öğrenme Psikolojisi ve Endüstriyel Psikoloji alanları ile ilgileniyorum. Lisans eğitimim boyunca EFPSA (Avrupa Psikoloji Öğrencileri Birlikleri Federasyonu) ile Mind the Mind projesi kapsamında uluslararası çalışma yürütüp bunun yanında Adana Güzelyalı Hastanesi’nde ve Rehber Klinik’te Klinik Psikoloji, Adana Adliyesi’nde Adli Psikoloji ve Adana Sheraton Grand Hotel’de İnsan Kaynakları alanlarında stajlar yaparak kendimi alanlar arası geliştirme imkanı buldum. Aynı zamanda psikoloji öğrencilerinin eğitimlere ulaşılabilirliğini arttırmaya yönelik oluşturulan bir eğitim platformunda Üniversite Temsilciliği ve Eğitim Koordinatörlüğü yaparak tecrübe kazandım. Lisans eğitimim sonrasında nöropsikoloji alanında uluslararası çalışmalar yapmayı planlıyorum. Sayedra Psikoloji yönetim kurulunda yer alırken aynı zamanda Makale Çeviri Koordinatörlüğü görevimi sürdürüyorum. İdeallerim doğrultusunda kendimi sürekli güncel tutuyor ve uluslararası çalışmaları takip ederek geliştiriyorum.