November 27th, 2011

Mother Not Recognizing Long Lost Child

As this is a plausibility question, I haven't done much research- search terms along the lines of "parent not recognizing missing child", etcetera, keep pointing me to child abuse resources.

My setting is a fantasy world, early Middle Ages or so. 23 years before the story begins, my MC disappears as a 2 year old child while the family is traveling. (Fleeing for their lives, technically- they are nobles, and the people have just begun a bloody revolution against the king/nobility.) The family is reunited with the missing daughter when she is a 25 year old, but there is another woman claiming to be the missing daughter as well. They are similar in looks- same hair and eye color, similar facial structure. Is it plausible that the mother would not be able to tell which of the girls is her real daughter?

Thanks so much!

EDIT: Thanks everyone! I really appreciate the help.
Seven Samurai

If you are shot by the police, would the bullets have to be taken out?

I'm aware of the "We Have to Get the Bullet Out!" trope.

A friend of mine was also shot in the chest, was lucky and recovered well, and the doctors never took the bullets out and told him they had no intention to take them out. 

However, my co-writer and I have a story with an MC who was shot in the torso by police. He mentions that the bullets are still in his body. We've got feedback saying it's unrealistic for him to still have the bullets in his body, since any police shooting would involve a forensic investigation, and the bullets would be important evidence, so the police would have them extracted.

I think that in order to examine extracted bullets against doctor's orders, the police would need a search warrant at the very least.

What do you think?

Research done: several Google searches, including "police shooting investigation" and "extracting police bullets".

Thanks in advance!

Sharing images of underage kidnap victims with the press

I'm not entirely sure how to look for this.

I'm writing a story, where the bad guy has kidnapped teenagers and kept them captive at his home. At the time of the story, three of his captives are still underage, while two are of age, but are mentally damaged to the point that they wouldn't be able to make choices of their own.

Would the police allow their pictures to be shared with the press in order to try and find their families and identify them? Thinking the victims have no criminal records, so their fingerprints wouldn't be on file, and since the kidnapper has taken them across state lines and the police have no idea when they were taken, it'd be hard to find them just by going through missing person files.

I've tried google for the phrase "privacy children police" and 'pictures of children in the media during a police investigation'

I'm probably using the wrong keywords to look for this, but I just need to know if the police would even allow for picture of the victims to be shared. Even if only to be able to identify them.
Artemis - Layer Cake

Psychiatric Treatment for Adolescents in the U.S. in the mid-/late-1970s

OK, this is actually for an assignment, but the point of the assignment is to conduct an initial psych assessment of the character. I swear that we are not graded on researching the history of psychiatry.

This assignment is based on the film Ordinary People, not the novel it's based on (which I've never read). According to Wikipedia, there appear to be some differences between the two (e.g., in the movie, Conrad Jarrett was hospitalized for 4 months--vs. 8 months in the book).

We know that Conrad underwent ECT while inpatient (it's mentioned during his interaction with his swim coach). But what other treatment would he receive?

1) Was cognitive and/or behavioral therapy sufficiently developed in the mid- to late-1970s for him to be exposed to it while inpatient, or would some flavor of psychodynamic therapy be the only likely option?

2) Psychopharmacology... If it was used at all with adolescents during that time, I assume we're talking some tricyclic antidepressant rather than a MAO inhibitor (given MAOis' drug and food interactions). I know that nowadays only fluoxetine, an SSRI, is FDA-approved for depression in children and adolescents, but for better or worse, other newer antidepressants (mainly SSRIs and SNRIs) are also used, but those didn't exist at the time. My guess is that psychiatrists nonetheless might've been creative with prescribing to adolescents. (On the other hand, Conrad's outpatient psychiatrist only appears to do psychotherapy with him in the movie.)

Research done: Honestly, I mostly looked up the various tricyclics in Wikipedia, but I didn't find enough about their history. When I Googled "use of tricyclic antidepressants in adolescents" (w/o the quotes), I found a bunch of stuff about their toxicity in pediatric populations. And I found out that they're used in children for bedwetting. (I didn't expect to find a whole lot, given that some newer antidepressants are safer in children--and again, only fluoxetine is FDA-approved. Or they're less unsafe if you will. I don't think they're that widely used today even in adults.)

Traveling on horseback while injured; looking for major travel routes in the Old West

Two semi-related questions.

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2. Does anybody have/know of any maps (whether on the internet or in books) showing the major non-railroad traveling routes for the Old West/Southwest in the late 1800s? I'm specifically looking for roads used by horses/wagons -- and even more specifically for information about what towns existed back then.

Searched using: "1800s travel routes", "1800s old west travel", "1800s major routes" and have received bupkus.

Language Acquisition Following Abuse

Trigger Warning, by the way, but I didn't want to use a cut since the question is not that long. 

Hi everyone!

I have a character who was kidnapped from his family at age four and has spent the last twelve years of his life locked in a basement where he was routinely abused and neglected, and not really spoken to beyond a few short orders. He's been rescued and placed back with his birth family and a whole team of therapists and psychiatrists/psychologists. Before he was kidnapped, he was a vibrant, chatty child and was probably a little ahead of his age group in language acquisition, but not at a genius level or anything.

What I want to know is: how much language should he have now and how much should he be able to acquire? It's kind of complicated since I know the brain goes through its second culling at five, thus ending the critical language acquisition period. However, would he lose what language he had learned at that time? And, if so, about how much? Furthermore, how much should his sixteen-year-old self be able to get back? Full speech seems unlikely, but perhaps coherency and short sentences?This takes place in modern day, by the way.

Research Done: Googled "feral children", read everything I could find on "Genie", Googled "language acquisition + abuse" and found lots of information I already knew. Called upon my (somewhat rusty) memory of Early Childhood Development and psychology. Browsed through little_details but didn't find anything much. 

Any advice would be much appreciated, thanks!
animals, tiger, nature

Natural resources (and their consequences) in a small lake country

Hello, first post after much lurking :) Hold on to your helmets because this is LONG, and thank you in advance for your help.

Questions are about a country I'm creating in an existing fantasy world. Mostly I'm interested in natural resources, sanitation and architecture. I'd also like to know if the situation is plausible (climate, geography, politics and so on).

  • Small country (8000 km2 / 3000 sq. miles), consisting of a single lake with a fringe of land. The lake is eutrophic (nutrient-rich), with extremely abundant and rapid plant growth (reeds, rushes, water weeds etc.) and a large fish population.
  • Local climate is temperate, rather damp and given to mists. Half the year is a stormy season, with moderate winds and heavy rain causing floods.
  • Strong economy based on the fertiliser trade, with fishing as the next most important activity. The country tries to be as self-reliant as possible (lots of exports, few imports).
  • Delicate economical and political balance since the country is so small.
  • Technology is mixed: most of it is traditional, but there are outboard engines and electric lights in some places. There's also magic.

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