harry harlow & contact comfort
Developmental psychologists in the 1940s - 1950s believed that infants became attached to those who provided them with nourishment - a widely-held theory that ignored the role of physical contact.
Harry Harlow took gave orphaned baby monkeys two artificial ‘mothers’ - one was wire and provided milk, the other was covered in soft cloth but provided no milk.
- when faced with a frightening stimuli, the monkeys clung to the cloth mother even though the wire mother was the one offering nourishment.
Harlow concluded that the stimulation/reassurance from the physical touch of a parent plays a key role in developing healthy physical growth and normal socialisation.
Harlow's Studies on Dependency in Monkeys (Video)
Harry Harlow shows that infant rhesus monkeys appear to form an affectional bond with soft, cloth surrogate mothers that offered no food but not with wire surrogate mothers that provided a food source but are less pleasant to touch.
Who was Harry Harlow?