Discovering Love by Harry Harlow
Most psychologists agree that our experiences as an infant with closeness, touching, and attachment to our mother or primary caregiver have an important influence on our abilities to love and be close to others later in life. The Freudians believed that it was the focus around the importance of the breast and the instinctive oral tendencies during the first year of life which they consider to be the famous oral stage. Later, the behaviorists countered that notion with the view that all human behavior is associated with primary needs, such as hunger, thirst, and avoidance of pain. Since the mother can fill these needs, the infant's closeness to her is constantly reinforced by the fact that she provides food for the infant. Consequently, the mother becomes associated with pleasurable events and, therefore, love develops. Love was seen as something secondary to other instinctive or survival needs. However, Harlow discovered that love and affection may be a primary need that is just as strong as or even stronger than those of hunger or thirst. However, Since Harlow had been working with rhesus monkeys for several years in his studies of learning; it was a simple process to begin his studies of love and attachment with these subjects. Harlow said that biologically, rhesus monkeys were very similar to humans. Harlow also believed that the basic responses of the rhesus monkey relating to bonding and affection in infancy such as nursing, contact, clinging, etc. are the same as humans. So Harlow’s studies or theoretical proposition on Discovering Love was that, these infant monkeys were to be carefully raised by humans in the laboratory so that they could be bottle-fed better, receive well-balanced nutritional diets, and be protected from disease more effectively than if they were raised by their monkey mothers. Harlow noticed that these infant monkeys became very attached to the cloth pads that were used to cover the bottoms of their...
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