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Mommy and me
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Graphic novels; Books-titles -- Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love
Author: Maury, Laurel
Date: Jul 22, 2007
Start Page: R.10
Section: Book Review; Part R; Features Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

[Harry Harlow], n Israel (though Episcopalian, he changed his name because of anti-Semitism in academia), was the scientist made famous by "Mother Love," a 1960 segment that aired on the CBS television show "Conquest." In Harlow's day, psychology said that babies shouldn't be hugged or cuddled. The television program was both a glimpse into the bright heartlessness of a psychology lab and the first time Harlow's shockingly controversial theory that maternal affection is necessary was put before a wide audience.

In his experiment, Harlow put baby monkeys into glass boxes with maternal stand-ins: two "monkey mothers," one of wire, one of cloth. The baby monkeys invariably clung to the soft cloth "mother," even when the wire "mother" had bottles to nurse from. He demonstrated that without this cuddling, baby monkeys never became curious infants able to connect with other monkeys. Harlow put his research on television because he was having a devil of a time getting other scientists to believe him. His plan worked. The unsettling images of the wire mother and the cloth mother endure to this day.

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