Psychology Topics: Child development, social isolation,
Storyline: Mowgli is a man-club raised by wild
animals in the jungles of India. Disney produced their live-action version of the Jungle Book in
2016. The shorter, 1967 animated version is also available.
Teaching With This Movie:
Genie, Case Study
Read about the well-documented case study of "Genie", a young girl born in 1957 in California who
was raised in virtual isolation by her father from the age of 20-months. Once authorities found
Genie at the age of 13, she had never developed language and had few developmental skills. What
does the study of Genie tell us about the window of opportunity for language acquisition and a
person's ability to learn vocabulary, as well as grammar and conceptual thinking?
Harry Harlow's Monkey Study
Read about Harlow's series of studies with rehsus monkeys in the 1950s and 60s and the effects of
social deprivation and lack of human contact during infancy. What did Harlow conclude from his
experiments? Do any of his findings align with what researchers discovered by following Genie's
rescue from her deprived childhood?
Are Animals Sentient?
The Jungle Book depicts its animal characters as anthropomorphic, capable of human
characteristics, and sentience, capable of perceiving emotions. Research the topic of "animal
sentience". Can animals, such as rats, chickens, and elephants, experience emotions such as joy,
sadness, grief, PTSD, jealousy, or resentment? What do the Lana and Washoe projects tell us about
animals' communication abilities?