Total Social Isolation

By: Meagan
 Was born on October 31, 1905
 Originally named Harry Israel
 Grew up in Fairfield, Iowa
 Family was poor
 Spent a year at Reed College in Portland, Oregon
 Got into Stanford University on a special aptitude test.
 Spent a semester as an
English major but then
changed to Psychology
 Studied under Lewis
Terman, who helped
shape Harlow’s future
 Terman is also the one
who advised Harry to
change his last name
 Harlow took his father’s
middle name
 Harlow married Clara Mears
 Terman’s daughter
 They had two children, which Clara took when she left
him for being a “workaholic”
 He accepted a job as a professor at the University of
 persuaded the University to construct a Primate
 His second wife, Peggy Kuenne, was a colleague in
child psychology and together they had two children
 Harlow's motivation for his
research was to understand
 The maternal bond between
mother and child was
thought to begin through
 Beginning in 1957, Harlow
began to investigate the
nature of this bond
 He removed infant rhesus
monkeys from their mothers
six to twelve hours after birth
and raised them instead with
surrogate mothers made
either of wire or of wood
covered with cloth
 First group = No food from Terrycloth Mother. Food
from Wire Mother
 Second group = Food from terrycloth mother. No food
from Wire Mother
 Even when the wire mother was the source of food and
warmth, 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
 The monkeys ran to the
cloth mother for protection
and comfort, no matter
which mother provided
them with food.
 Monkeys placed in an
unfamiliar room without
their cloth mothers would
freeze in fear and cry, crouch
down low, or suck their
 Monkeys placed in this
situation with wire mothers
showed the same behavior as
the monkeys with no mother
 Once the monkeys could eat solid foods, they were
taken from their “mothers” for 3 days
 When reunited, the monkeys tended not to venture
off to explore as they usually did, but clung to their
 Harlow claimed that the need for contact and comfort
was stronger than the need to explore
 Even though the monkeys gained weight at the same
rate, the monkeys with wire “mothers” had trouble
with digestion
 Harlow realized that touch was not enough, and his
"ideal mother" was inadequate
 When the now adult monkeys were introduced to
normal monkeys they were extremely anti-social
 Displayed autistic-like behavior, banging their heads and
 They were also unable to mate normally
 “Rape Racks”
 “Motherless Mothers”
 The results contradicted the teachings of this time
and the claim of the behaviorist school of psychology
 Harlow concluded that nursing strengthened the
mother-child bond because of the intimate body
contact that it provided
 Believed that contact comfort could be provided by
either mother or father
 He presented his results
Partial Isolation
 Monkeys were raised in
bare wire cages
 Able to see, smell, and
hear other monkeys, but
no physical contact
 Resulted in blank
staring, repetitive
circling in their cages,
and self-mutilation
Total Social Isolation
 monkeys were raised in
isolation chambers
No contact at all with other
“Pit of despair”
Baby monkeys were left
alone for 3, 6, 12, or 24
Resulted in severely
psychologically disturbed
 Harlow tried to restore the monkeys who had been
isolated for six months by placing them with normal
 Not successful
 Total social isolation for the first six months of life
produced severe deficits in nearly every aspect of social
 The monkeys that were isolated and then exposed to
monkeys the same age who were reared normally were
able to only obtain limited recovery of simple social
 Some monkey mothers reared in isolation showed
maternal behavior that was acceptable when forced to
receive infant contact over a period of months
 but showed no further recovery afterwards.
 Surprisingly, when six-month isolates were exposed
to younger monkeys around three months old, they
were able to pretty much complete social recovery for
all the situations tested.
 Some researchers claim Harlow’s experiments as
factors in the rise of the animal liberation movement
 The results of his work confirmed that human beings
need more than just simple physical needs, like
 we are social beings, seeking the warmth and comfort of
touch, and the company of others
 Suggested the importance of mother/child bonding
 Children need to feel love, acceptance, and affection
from the caregiver.
 He did not regret doing the experiments

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