Harry Harlow and the Rhesus Monkeys In 1958 Harry Harlow conducted a series of experiments with rhesus monkeys in order to try to understand the conditions in which human infants wither away and to come up with some preventive measures. He also wanted to disprove the common idea that infants love their mothers because of the food they provide for their infants. “Regarding mother-love, sociologists and psychologists were in accordance with psychoanalysts: The baby loves the mother because she feeds it. Harlow found this implausible” (Karen, 1994, p. 123). Harlow conducted his research at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He was the president of the American Psychological Association at the time of his experiments. Harlow used the rhesus monkeys for his experiments because they were quite similar to human infants. He took eight newborn rhesus monkeys and separated them from their mothers. He raised them in cages outfitted with surrogate mothers which were contraptions inside the cages. In one cage, there was a block of wood covered with soft sponge rubber that had been covered with a terry cloth. Attached to it was a circular face with a light bulb behind it for warmth, and a feeding nipple. In the other cage was a wire mesh with a feeding nipple attached to it. The monkeys spent all of their time with one of the surrogate mothers. Harlow observed that no matter which surrogate mother “fed” the baby monkeys, they spent up to 18 hours a day clinging to the terry cloth mother (Karen, 1994). “The monkeys affectional ties to their cloth mother were sustained even after long separations. And when the infant monkeys were placed in a strange situation, a room filled with a variety of stimuli known to arouse monkey interest, they always rushed initially to the cloth mother when she was available, clung to her until their fear dissipated, and rubbed their bodies against her” (Karen, 1994, p. 124). This clearly demonstrates that monkey and human infants love their mothers for the comfort and love they provide and not for food. Interestingly, Harlow also found that the infant monkeys preferred the familiar face drawn on the surrogate mother to a new face or no face. Sadly, all of the monkeys in these studies ended up having some devastating social-emotional problems due to not having an actual live mother to give them the love and interaction they needed as infants. They could not easily relate to their peers and raising their offspring proved to be even more difficult with abuse and murder occurring. “Cross and Harlow (1965) reported the syndrome of compulsive behaviors which become ever more severe as partial isolation is prolonged. These maladaptive behaviors include nonnutritional sucking which serves no ordinary purpose, stereotyped circular pacing, fixed and frozen bizarre bodily postures and positions of hand and arm, as well as withdrawal from the environment to the point of complete detachment” (Harlow & Mears, 1979, p. 244). This further disproves the theory that human infants don’t require affection or that it’s dangerous to them. As another well-known psychologist, Erik Erikson points out, infants’ attachment goes much deeper than food or even love, but requires trust. Rene Spitz- Hospitalism In the 1940s Rene Spitz did a study on infant hospitalism. A total of 91 infants were placed in the Foundling Home located just outside of the United States. For the first three months of the infants’ lives, they were breastfed by their mothers in the Foundling Home. If an infant’s mother was not available, one of the other mothers would also breastfeed that infant. The infant’s enjoyed the affection given by their mothers during this initial three month period. After three months, all of the infants were separated from their mothers. The infants were cared for by nurses and received high quality physical and medical care. Each nurse was in charge of eight to twelve infants, making it almost impossible for the infants to have any need except for the physical/medical need met. As Spitz (1965) states, “To put it drastically, they got approximately one tenth of the normal affective supplies provided in the usual mother-child relationship” (p. 279). In other words, no love or social support was given to these infants. It wasn’t long before a rapid decline was seen in the infants’ development. Just after three months of the separation, the infants’ motor development had completely halted, and they became totally passive. They’d stopped crying. The infants just lied on their backs and did not have the motivation to roll over or sit up. “The face became vacuous, eye coordination defective, the expression often imbecile. When mobility reappeared after a while, it took the form of spasmus mutans in some of the children; others showed bizarre finger movements reminiscent of decerebrate or athetotic movements (Spitz, 1945a)” (Spitz, 1965, p. 279). Sadly, these infants were failing to thrive, and were severely stunted in all aspects of development. By the end of the children’s second year of life, those who had survived, their development was “forty-five percent of the normal” (Spitz, 1965, p. 279). This was after they had been placed back into loving homes. These children had become severely disabled both physically and mentally. Even the children who survived and were checked on again at age four, the majority still could not sit unassisted, walk, or talk (Spitz, 1965). It was a horrific example of how socialemotional depravation severely affects infants. Many of the infants did not survive. The death rates of these children were extremely high compared with other children in institutions in which loving care was provided. According to Spitz (1965), “Of the 91 children originally observed in the Foundling Home, 34 had died by the end of the second year; 57 survived” (p. 281). It was speculated by Spitz that the death rate may have been even higher due to the fact he lost touch with some of these children after the study. It was also noted by Spitz that only two of the infants died of disease (Spitz, 1965). Genie and Isabelle – Isolation Genie’s father had kept her isolated in a locked room from the time she was nearly two. When she was found at the age of thirteen, much of her behavior was subhuman. Because Genie’s father severely punished her for making any sounds whatsoever, she was completely silent. She never sobbed when she cried or spoke when angry. Never having been given solid food, she could not chew. Because she had spent her entire life strapped in a potty-chair, Genie could not stand erect, straighten her arms or legs, or run. Her social behavior was primitive. She blew her nose on whatever was handy or into the air when nothing was available. Without asking, she would take from people things that attracted her attention. Attempts to socialize Genie were not successful. At the end of the four-year period, she could not read, could speak only in short phrases, and had just begun to control some of her feelings and behavior. Genie paid a high price – her full development as a human being – for the isolation, abuse and lack of human warmth she experienced. Isabelle had been hidden away because her mother was unmarried. Isabelle’s mother had been deaf since the age of two and did not speak. She stayed with her child in a dark room, secluded from the rest of the family. When found at the age of six and a half. Isabelle was physically ill from an inadequate diet and lack of sunshine. Her legs were so bowed that when she stood the soles of her shoes rested against each other, and her walk was a skittering movement. Some of her actions were like those of a six-month-old infant. Unable to talk except for a strange croaking sound, Isabelle communicated with her mother by means of gestures. Like an animal in the wild, she reacted with fear and hostility to strangers, especially men. At first, Isabelle was thought to be severely learning disabled. Nevertheless, an intensive program of rehabilitation was begun. After a slow start, Isabelle progressed through the usual stages of learning and development at a faster pace than normal. It took her only two years to acquire the skills mastered by a normal six-year-old. By the time she was eight and a half, Isabelle was on an educational par with children her age. By outward appearances, she was an intelligent happy energetic child. At age fourteen, she participated in all the school activities normal for other children in her grade.