In studies of extreme isolationism, researchers tried to determine if there was a limit on age after which an "isolated" child would be unable to develop socially. One child, Anna, was an illegitimate child and became a foster child to a family that had no time to care for her. She was left in the attic often and was attended to just enough to allow her to survive. At age 5 she was sent to another foster home where she experienced more interaction, yet by the time of her death at age 8 her development had not progressed.

In another case, Rebecca, also an illegitimate child, had a new set of caretakers at age 4 and began seeing social development at age 6. Her development from age 6-10 accelerated and she was considered to have normal social development by age 10.

Researchers concluded that social development after extreme cases of isolationism cannot develop past age 5 for a child but can develop before 5.


Most Weaken Most Strengthen
Susan, another case of isolationism, saw just as much improvement in her social development as had Rebecca but her acceleration began even earlier at age 5
Children with no social interaction do not live past age 8
Johan began experiencing social interaction at age 3 yet never developed socially by the time of his death at age 5
Martin was born to caring parents and was socially developed well before age 5
The care takers at Anna's second foster home were not experienced and did not to enough in teracting with Anna to help her develop socially, whereas Rebecca's caretakers were much more attentive and interactive

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