Wire and Terrycloth Mothers

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Wire and Terrycloth Mothers

  1. 1. Harry Harlow’s Wire and Terrycloth mothers
  2. 2. Harry Harlow <ul><li>Born October 31, 1905 </li></ul><ul><li>Died December 6, 1981 </li></ul><ul><li>Born in Fairfield, Iowa </li></ul><ul><li>American psychologist best known for his maternal-separation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>In a well-known series of experiments conducted between 1957 and 1963, Harlow removed baby rhesus monkeys from their mothers, and offered them a choice between two surrogate mothers, one made of terrycloth, the other of wire. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Two groups of baby rhesus monkeys were removed from their mothers. In the first group, a terrycloth mother provided no food, while a wire mother did, in the form of an attached baby bottle containing milk. </li></ul><ul><li>In the second group, a terrycloth mother provided food; the wire mother did not. </li></ul><ul><li>It was found that the young monkeys clung to the terrycloth mother whether or not it provided them with food, and that the young monkeys chose the wire surrogate only when it provided food. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>Whenever a frightening stimulus was brought into the cage, the monkeys ran to the cloth mother for protection and comfort, no matter which mother provided them with food. This response decreased as the monkeys grew older. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Harlow's interpretation of this behaviour, which is still widely accepted, was that a lack of contact comfort is psychologically stressful to the monkeys. </li></ul><ul><li>The importance of these findings is that they contradicted both the then common pedagogic advice of limiting or avoiding bodily contact in an attempt to avoid spoiling children and the insistence of the then dominant Behaviourist School of Psychology that emotions were negligible. </li></ul>
  7. 8. <ul><li>Feeding was thought to be the most important factor in the formation of a mother-child bond. </li></ul><ul><li>Harlow concluded, however, that nursing strengthened the mother-child bond because of the intimate body contact that it provided. </li></ul>

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