Madison in 100 objects: Harry Harlow’s fabrication mom monkeys

October 3, 2014 - photo frame

If you’re dynamic to rile people adult in Madison, your safest gamble competence be to move adult Harry Harlow and his feign gorilla moms.

“Sadistic torture,” some will say. “Brilliant research,” others will answer. “Those bad monkeys,” many will agree.

Harlow, a UW-Madison highbrow from 1930 to 1974, was a pioneering psychology researcher. His many critical investigate concerned a bond between mom and child in a monkey world. Harlow took baby rhesus monkeys divided from their birth mothers and unprotected them to mom substitutes — a “cloth mother” and a “wire mother.” The cloth mom was a support lonesome by a soothing cloth. The handle mom was usually a frame.

Harlow’s experiments showed that baby monkeys would adhere to a cloth mother, even when a handle mom was assembled to feed a babies. Harlow  showed that baby monkeys not usually need communication with mothers though need their mothers to pull them out into broader relationships. Some of his many argumentative investigate demonstrated that violent mothers could injure their children for life.

He is one instance of a university’s longstanding position as a behemoth in a systematic investigate world, that continues today. Harlow also was an early entrant into a university’s long-running discuss over a ethics and boundary of animal research. The discuss flared again recently as UW moves brazen with new investigate that again will intentionally dispossess baby monkeys of their mothers. Critics inside and outward a university have called for a stop to it.

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