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HARRY HARLOW

Born Harry Israel on October 31, 1905.



After a year at Reed college in Portland, Oregon he obtained admission to
Stanford on a special aptitude test.

After a year as an English major with nearly disastrous grades, he declared
himself as a Psychology major.

Studied largely under Lewis Terman, the developer of the Stanford-Binet
IQ test.

In 1930 he changed his last name from Israel to Harlow in fear of negative
reactions, although his family was not Jewish.

Died December 6, 1981.
Harlow is best known for his maternal separation, dependency needs,
and social isolation experiments on Rhesus Monkeys.

He studied and did his research at the University of Wisconsin
Madison.

In order to study, Harlow needed access to developing primates, so he
established a breeding colony of Rhesus macaques in 1932. Due to
the nature of his study, Harlow needed regular access to infant
primates, so he chose to raise them in a nursery setting, rather than
with their protective mothers. This technique, also called maternal
deprivation, is highly controversial to this day is used as a model of
early life adversity in primates.


Monkey Studies
The Wire Mother Experiment
Harlows most famous experiment involved giving young rhesus monkeys a choice
between two different "mothers." One was made of soft terrycloth, but provided
no food. The other was made of wire, but provided food from an attached baby
bottle.

Harlow removed young monkeys from their natural mothers a few hours after
birth and left them to be "raised" by these fake mothers. The experiment
demonstrated that the baby monkeys spent way more time with their cloth mother
than with their wire mother.

Even though only the wire mother could provide nourishment, the monkeys
visited her only to feed. Harlow concluded that there was much more to the
mother/infant relationship than milk and that this contact comfort was essential
to the psychological development and health of both infant monkeys and children.
Fear, Security, and attachment
In a later experiment, Harlow showed that young
monkeys would also turn to their cloth surrogate
mother for comfort and security. Harlow allowed
the young monkeys to explore a room either in
the presence of their surrogate mother or in her
absence. Monkeys in the presence of their
mother would use her as a secure base to explore
the room.

When the surrogate mothers were removed
from the room, the effects were very dramatic.
The young monkeys no longer had their secure
base to explore the room and would often freeze
up, crouch, rock, scream, and cry.
Controversy
Many of his experiments are considered unethical today. Harlow refused
to use conventional terminology, and instead chose deliberately
outrageous terms for the experimental devises he made. Harlow used the
term "love" in place of the popular and correct term, "attachment." Some
of the devices he made included a forced-mating device he called the
"rape rack, and a tormenting surrogate mother devices he called "Iron
maidens. The "well of despair," was were baby monkeys were left alone
in darkness for up to one year from birth, or repetitively separated from
their peers and isolated in the chamber. These procedures quickly
produced monkeys that were severely psychologically disturbed and used
as models of human depression.


Impact of Harlows Studies and Research
Harlows experiments was proof that love is vital for normal childhood
development. Additional experiments by Harlow revealed the long-term
deprivation leads to profound psychological and emotional distress and even
death. Harlows work helped influence how orphanages, adoption agencies,
social services groups and child care providers approached the care of
children.

Harry Harlow's research helped shape ideas on love, affection, and
interpersonal relationships and also reinforced the importance of emotional
support, affection, and love in the development of children.