What is the hybrid theory of language development?

The required textbook for this course is:

  • Berger, K. (2014).  The Developing Person, Through the Life Span (9th ed.).   New York:  Worth.


APA style and cited with 150-300 words

Your textbook discusses four theories of language development (teaching infants, infants teaching themselves, social impulses fostering language development, and hybrid theory). While it is rare, occasionally psychologists work on case studies that can help us to answer the question of language development.  Genie is one of these case studies.

In this assignment read the article, “Genie The Story of the Wild Child” (opens in a new window), about a real-life child named Genie who was deprived of human contact until 13 years of age:

After reading the article, pretend that you are a psychologist who supports the hybrid theory of language development and answer the following questions about Genie’s language development:

  • What is the hybrid theory of language development?
  • Using the hybrid theory, how would you explain the reasons for Genie’s delays in language development?
  • In what ways did the psychologists in the article apply the hybrid theory in order to help Genie learn to speak English?
  • Based upon the hybrid theory, what are 3 recommendations that were not explored in the movie that you would suggest in order to help teach Genie to speak English?
    • Please base your suggested recommendations on research on language development.

Post your answer in the Language Development forum of the Class Discussion Board.

Read the assignments that your classmates have posted and comment on at least 2 of them. Comments must include both of the following criteria:

  • Must be an analytical critique of how well your classmates applied hybrid theory in their answers regarding and recommendations for improving Genie’s language development.
  • Provide suggestions for improvement or alternative areas to be considered.

Please note that you will not be able to see other posts until you submit your own work.


The assignment will help you understand and apply the four theories of language development discussed in your text.  You will also become familiar with one of the classic case studies in the field of psychology.   Reading other students work will encourage your own critical thinking and broaden your perspective.

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