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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.
soft cuddly things
weak heartbeats fleeting with
sun-rays still beating upon tin roofs but
its almost-evening sun,
and the terry cloth mothers love while,
wire mother monkeys stick their babies with coat-hanger guns.
i’m standing bare and merciless,
as rheese monkeys and american children become
other without reason & speed.
tachycardia stretches out and little lambs become suicide bombs,
who made the mistake of putting on shoes and schools and
cutting their hair.
wind up coils of anxiety because
all c-u-t down.