In the opinion of modern people, the mother plays the most important role in the child rearing process. A mother’s hug and caress is the warmest source of comfort for a child. But did you know that such simple common sense has been viewed by many psychologists as a way of raising unhealthy children in the past? Experts at that time said that parents should minimize contact with their children, since they were young, they should not embrace too much, to limit the development of bad characters due to being pampered and manipulated. harmful to the kids.
But the prevailing theory at the time was later refuted by an American psychologist named Harry Harlow.
Harlow is famous for studying the relationship and bond between babies and their caregivers in infancy, which is also a core value in his later experiments. Through a series of psychological experiments, he demonstrated to everyone that babies raised in their mother’s arms were more likely to be healthier as adults.
In 1932, Harlow established his own laboratory at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. To better carry out his research, he locked up his experimental “subjects” as common monkeys commonly used in scientific experiments in cages with similar physical conditions. humans like toys, towels, teddy bears.
Because of the need for long-term observation and research on young monkeys, so Harlow has been to separate these young monkeys from their mothers, taking care of them under complete artificial supervision, which means the fact that these young monkeys become orphans and do not receive the care and nurture of their mothers.
This measure was called “maternal deprivation” by Harlow and his team, and it has also become one of the key models for studying mother-to-child relationships. Despite a lot of controversy about this experiment, but Harlow continued to perform his experiment.
Initially, Harlow and his colleagues discovered that compared to the baby monkeys that were breastfed by their mothers, artificially raised orphan monkeys had less exotic personalities and social skills. As these orphan monkeys grow up, they will often shrink, shy or very aggressive.
But he found one point worth studying in depth, that orphan monkeys especially like to hug and keep their favorite things in their cages and refuse to let go of their hands. If you take them out of the orphaned monkeys’ hands, they will behave in a very depressed, bewildered manner and seem to treat the objects like their mothers.
With such early results, the researchers argued that the babies needed to touch and touch their mother’s body. And this gave Harlow a new idea: why not try mothering monkeys?
So he and his team created two “mothers” for the orphan monkeys. One is Wire Mother, made of iron wire and has a vase on it, which can provide milk to orphan monkeys. One is Cloth Mother, no bottle, but wrapped around a soft cloth.
The results of this trial showed that all orphan monkeys chose a “mother” made from soft fabric and without a bottle. Even if these orphan monkeys feel hungry and want to drink milk, they’ll just count the “mother” Wire for a few sips and then immediately go back and grab Cloth. In Harlow’s opinion, the comfort Cloth gives these monkeys is more important than the food. This finding shows how important contact comfort is to a child’s physical and mental development during infancy.
The next step in the experiment, Harlow placed the orphan monkeys and the two “mothers” into a double-split wooden box, then opened one side of the door so the young monkeys could see a new environment. This new environment is sometimes a toy or a stuffed animal, all of which are foreign objects to them.
Harlow discovered that when the orphan monkey would find his soft cloth “mother” first. Then, though somewhat afraid of new items, they will approach those items and run to hug their “mother”.
But when these “mothers” are taken away, the orphan monkeys will feel scared, lie still and curl up with a feeling of insecurity. This shows that “mothers” give orphan monkeys a sense of security and when they are taken away, the orphaned monkeys fall into a state of despair.
To further study the effects of maternal-infant exposure on infants, Harlow continued to perform his experiments. He divided the orphan monkeys into two groups, one cared for with an artificial mother Wire Mother, made of iron wire and the other raised with mother Cloth Mother, without a bottle, but wrapped around her. I have a soft cloth.
These two groups of orphaned monkeys were raised with identical amounts of milk, but the group of monkeys raised with a “mother” made of iron wire had poorer feces and digestive systems, more frequent diarrhea than the group of monkeys. raised with “mother” by soft cloth.
Harlow concludes after these observational experiments that orphan monkeys that lack the comfort of being with their mothers are subject to physical and mental stress, which will affect their health.
Harlow calls his series of experiments “the study of love”. He believes that, compared with his predecessors’ theory of not touching too much while raising a baby, breastfeeding and the mother’s hugs and caresses will give the baby emotional strength and better physical development.
After he published these results, more and more researchers encouraged parents to show love for their children.
Although Harlow’s series of “cruel” experiments on “orphaned” monkeys have caused a lot of controversy, they have reversed the public’s understanding of the relationship between mother and child. benefits for future generations.