1. Autobiographical Account of Konrad Lorenz
If you are interested in the work carried out by Konrad Lorenz looking at the nature of critical and sensitive periods, then you may be interested in reading an autobiographical account of his life and how he came to be involved in such research. Lorenz wrote about his life following his award of The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973. It details his love of animals and charts his career path from being a small boy interested in how the world works to becoming a Nobel Prize winner. The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Vienna has since been set up and details of their current research activity can be found at the following address: http://www.kli.ac.at/
2. The Case of Genie
The case of Genie, the 13-year-old girl who had been kept in social isolation for the majority of her life, was brought to light in 1970 and is a good example of the notion of critical and sensitive periods. What happened to Genie is now a very famous case in psychology and there is huge debate surrounding how she was treated by those charged with her care and rehabilitation when she was finally removed from the family home. The BBC Horizon programme made a documentary of Genie’s case in 1994 and a link to the series can be found here.
3. Human Genome Project
The human genome project was a large-scale project that lasted for 13 years and involved numerous countries trying to identify all the genes that make up human DNA. The project was completed in 2003, although analysis of the findings is still underway. Aside from being an important step in our understanding of the way that human beings function, the project threw up some interesting ethical questions. Such questions include how much our behaviour is influenced by our genes, and how does personal genetic information affect an individual’s perception of themselves and society’s perception of them? Discussions relating to these questions and many more raised by the study of how our genes work are provided on this site. For information on the importance of the Human Genome Project and how genes and DNA function can be found at: http://www.gowithabacus.com/p0705.html
4. Bowlby’s Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis
Bowlby wrote his original monograph outlining his initial ideas of the maternal deprivation hypothesis for the World Health Association in 1951. This work was an early writing and was followed up by numerous other papers outlining his attachment hypothesis. You can read this original work here which outlines the work Bowlby did with homeless children who had been separated from their parents during World War II. In it Bowlby outlines the need for a change in the way children were being cared for at the time, with a shift from a focus purely on the physical needs of the child to recognising the importance of focusing on the child’s emotional needs too. Bowlby’s work was highly political at the time and his ideas were highly influential.
5. Disability Rights UK – Disability Network
Disability Rights UK is a charity which works to promote the creation of a society where everyone with lived experience of disability can participate fully in society. Their website provides information on their various campaigns which provide an interesting insight into some of the current difficulties that individuals with disabilities face.