Harlow’s Theory: Love

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Harlow’s Theory: Motherly love
Jose Hernandez
Instructor: Mrs. Martinez, M, A
El Paso Community College

Harlow’s Theory: Love The feeling of love is, deep, soft, satisfying. Because of its affectionate and intimate nature it is viewed by some as an inapplicable topic for experimental research. But, whatever our own perception may be, our assigned mission as psychologists is to analyze all facets of human and animal behavior into their component variables. (scientific American , June 1959) Therefore as far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have been unsuccessful in this quest. The few things we know about love don’t go beyond simple examination, and the few things we read about it
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Harlow theorized that they used their mothers as a “psychological base of operations,” allowing them to remain playful and inquisitive after the initial fright had subsided.( John Wiley and Sons, 1980) On the other hand, babies nurtured by wire mesh mothers did not run to their mothers when scared. Rather, they threw themselves on the floor, clinched themselves, rocked back and forth, and screamed in fear. “These behaviors intimately mimicked the actions of autistic and deprived children often seen in institutions as well as the pathological behavior of adults confined to mental institutions”.( Harry F. Harlow, 1959) The awesome power of attachment and loss over mental health and illness could hardly have been performed more dramatically.
In later experiments, Harlow’s monkeys proved that better late than never was not always right specially when it came to nurturing an infant. When Harlow allocated his baby monkeys in total isolation for the first 8 months of their life, forsaking their contact with other babies or with the artificial mothers, they were permanently hurt. Harlow and his friends kept repeating this experiments, assigning baby monkeys to diffrent periods of isolation times. They came up with the conclusion that the impact of early motherly deprivation could be reversed in monkeys only if it had lasted less than
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