05 January 2019

5th January 1959 - Harlow's Surrogate Mothers

5th January 1959 — Harry Harlow's article "The Nature of Love" was published in the American Psychologist.

Harlow took eight newborn rhesus macaque monkeys, and gave them each a choice. Alone in their cages with them were two surrogate mothers. There was the cloth mother and the wire mother. In four of the cages, the wire mother held the food bottle; in the other four, the cloth mother.

If infant love is based on food production, Harlow reasoned, the babies should prefer whichever mother held the bottle. They did not. The baby monkeys overwhelmingly preferred the cloth mother with whom they could have comfort contact.

Thankyou to On This Day in Psychology by David Webb (an Ebook from Amazon) for the date.

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