Harry Harlow


Contrabutions and Historical impact

In Harlow's initial experiments, baby monkeys were separated from their mothers at six to twelve hours after birth and were raised instead with substitute mothers made either of heavy wire mesh or of wood covered with cloth. Both mothers were the same size, but the wire mother had no soft surfaces while the other mother was cuddly covered with foam rubber and soft terry cloth. Both mothers were warmed by an electric light placed inside them.In one experiment both types of surrogates were present in the cage, but only one was equipped with food from which the infant could nurse. Some infants received nourishment from the wire mother, and others were fed from the cloth mother. Even when the wire mother was the source of nourishment the infant monkey spent a greater amount of time clinging to the cloth surrogate. These results led researchers to believe the need for closeness and affection goes deeper than a need for warmth.

Something intersting

The young learn to better cope with society when showed love and affection by their real mothers.If a chiled is not shown affection or love it will affect them later on in their life, they will be antisociall and they could have other major problems.

Effects on modern day life

Harlow’s experiments offered deffinent proof that love is vital for normal childhood development. Additional experiments by Harlow revealed the long-term devastation caused by deprivation, leading to psychological and emotional distress and even death. Harlow’s work, as well as important research by psychologists Mary Ainsworth, helped influence key changes in how orphanages, adoption agencies, social services groups and child care providers approached the care of children.


  1. Why would a monkey go to a more comfortable or "cuddly" mother over a mother which provided food?
  2. What were the long term effects of a child that was not shown affection early in life?
  3. Why is the need for affection more important than the need for survival early on in life?
  4. How did harlows studied affect modern day psychology?
  5. Why do people need affection?