Harry Harlow: A Revolutionary Who Changed Child-Rearing Practices in Industrialized Countries

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Harry Harlow: a Revolutionary Who Changed Child-Rearing Practices in Industrialized Countries Harry Harlow remains a controversial figure. He was extremely influential in behavioral and cognitive psychology as well as psychoanalysis which he strongly criticized, but some of his experiments with moneys were cruel and insensitive. The animal rights movement in the United States grew partly in response to the manner Harlow experimented with monkeys. His revolutionary influence, however, cannot be downplayed. His experiments and the conclusions he made challenged the basics of behavioral psychology of the 1930s to '50s. Thanks to Harlow, it is now generally accepted that children's needs cannot be met just by feeding them that children are in need of other psychological variables such as touching, caring, cuddling, and carrying (Slater, 2004; Sumoi, Horst, & Veer, 2008). Thanks to the influence of one man, the industrialized world has changed fundamentally its child-rearing principles. Harlow was interested in behavioral and cognitive psychology and the science of attachment and loss that was evolving at the time. Through his studies, Harlow made two arguments. The first was that emotional aspect of mother love was more important than the physiological aspect of it. He substantiated the theory, suggesting that nurture was as important, or even more important, than nature. The second was that the mother-child attachment was critical at the early stages of an infant's life.

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