Harry Harlow

The Monkey Man

Going Bananas!!

Harry Harlow was born on Halloween, October 31, 1905 in Fairfield Iowa. Harry was an American Experimental Psychologist who gave a new understanding of human behavior by observing the social activities of monkeys. Harlow graduated from Stanford University, earning his BA and PhD in Psychology. He is most known for his mothering experiment using baby monkeys. He obtained pregnant female rhesus monkeys. 6-12 hours after birth, he separated the babies from their mothers. He raised them using fake mothers: one made of wood and wire mesh and another made of terry-cloth. The wire monkey had the food, which most psychologists at the time believed the "Cupboard Theory," which said that was why offspring wanted their mothers; as a source of food, which led to positive and cuddly feelings. However, the monkeys proved them wrong by spending the most time with the mesh mother, which led theorists to conclude that a need for love and affection is stronger than a need for food.

Gone Bananas!!

Harlow's research showed that a child needs love and affection from its parents. The monkeys who were unable to cuddle with the cloth mother began to have trouble gaining weight and dropped in health. This led theorists to believe that a child's development is heavily affected by the care and affection it gets from its parents.

In today's world, Harry would most likely use his research to prove how wrong child abuse and neglection is.

INGTERESTING FACTS: In 1932, Harlow married Clara Mears. They had two boys. They divorced in 1946, and Harlow married Margaret Kuene. They had a boy and a girl. Kuene died in 1971. The year after, Harlow remarried Mears, and stayed married until he died in 1981. Harry's last name was Israel. He changed it to Harlow some time after he earned his PhD.

While Harlow's research may have been useful, many people considered his work "inhumane" because he was interested in studying the effects of isolation, abandonment, and stress on humans.

Harlow died on December 6, 1981 in Tucson, Arizona. Harlow may be gone, but his mark on this world still lives.

Works Cited

Schultheis, Erin. "Harry F. Harlow." Psychology History. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014.


"Harry Harlow Biography." Harry Harlow Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2014


Harlow's Monkeys