By: Logan Schlee
What Is Harry Harlow famous for?
Harry did an experiment to test how important bonding is between a caregiver and a child. His test was first to see if a child needs warmth from the mother or if it is just to be with the mother. He made a wire mother and a wooden/cloth mother and the wire one had a heat lamp to warm the baby monkey. He found that children with more bonding developed faster and were healthier in general.
Harry made two "mothers" out of wire and cloth covered wood, so that he can test maternal deprivation. The wire mother had a bottle for the monkey to nurse on and the wood mother did not. Most monkeys preferred the wood and cloth mother while some went to the wire mother. When these monkeys grew to be adults, they had strange behaviors. They would hold themselves and rock back and forth for long periods of time.
Baby clutching cloth mother.
Baby monkey clutching cloth mother next to wire mother.
Baby monkey on the cloth mother getting food from the wire mother.
How did his research affect psychology?
The experiments had shown how important bonding is between the mother/caregiver to the child. The experiment had provided new information used for parenting tips and how workers at orphanages and hospitals should interact more with the children.
How did his research help to understand how people think and act?
The experiments helped lead to the causes of problems in children and in adults. The way the monkeys were raised made them act very differently when they grew up. When these monkeys became parents, they were not good parents. They were either abusive or negligent and didn't treat their babies with care.
How did the time period in which they lived affect him?
Harry was born in 1905 and died in 1981. His work was very controversial, as he had to isolate baby monkeys for 24 months from their real mothers and this made the monkeys act strange in their older life.