Dictionary of Arguments


Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute
 
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Behavior Harlow Slater I 16
Behavior/Harlow: The finding that rearing with age-mates could compensate for the effects of maternal deprivation on developing peer relationships was the most controversial and tentative finding in the 1962 paper(1). Working with small numbers of monkeys, Harlow observed few differences between mother-raised and peer-raised monkeys on play, defensive, or sexual behavior with peers during the juvenile period of development. This finding led Harlow to conclude that play with agemates was “more necessary than mothering to the development of effective social relations” (Harlow & Harlow, 1962(1), p. 495). However, Harlow remained tentative about his conclusions noting that they were limited to outcomes only up to two years of age.
Follow-up studies of peer-reared monkeys by Harlow’s former graduate student, Steve Suomi, suggested a less sanguine view of peer-raised monkeys even during the juvenile period of development (Suomi, 2008)(2).
When (…) peer-raised monkeys were grouped with mother-raised monkeys, they dropped to the bottom of the peer dominance hierarchies (Bastian, Sponberg, Sponberg, Suomi, & Higley, 2002)(3).
Slater I 17
VsHarlow: Research has advanced from the social deprivation paradigms in several respects. 1) Researchers have examined more subtle variations in early caregiving environments by considering the effects of temporary separations from caregivers as well as variations in the quality of maternal care provided to offspring (Suomi & Levine, 1998)(4).
2) Researchers have begun to examine individual differences in offsprings’ susceptibility to environmental influences (Lyons, Parker, & Schatzberg, 2010)(5).
3) The trends toward examining a continuum of caregiving environments and individual differences in children’s susceptibility to caregiving environments have been advanced by efforts to identify the genetic, neural, and physiological mechanisms through which early experience affects later outcomes (Weaver et al., 2004)(6). Cf. >Affectional bonds/psychological theories.




1. Harlow, H. F., & Harlow, M. (1962). Social deprivation in monkeys. Scientific American, 207, 137–146.
2. Suomi, S. J. (2008). Attachment in rhesus monkeys. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (Eds), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research and clinical applications (pp. 173–191). New York: Guilford Press.
3. Bastian, M. L., Sponberg, A. C., Suomi, S. J., & Higley, J. D. (2002). Long-term effects of infant rearing condition on the acquisition of dominance rank in juvenile and adult rhesus macaques
(Macaca mulatta). Developmental Psychobiology, 42, 44–51.
4. Suomi, S., & Levine, S. (1998). Psychobiology of intergenerational effects of trauma: Evidence from animal studies. In Y. Daneli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp. 623–637). New York: Plenum Press.
5. Lyons, D. M., Parker, K. J., & Schatzberg, A. F. (2010). Animal models of early life stress: Implications for understanding resilience. Developmental Psychobiology, 52, 616–624.
6. Weaver, I. C. G., Cervoni, N., Champagne, F. A., D’Alessio, A. C., Sharma, S., Seckl, J. R., Dymov, S., et al. (2004). Epigenetic programming by maternal behavior. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 847–854.


Roger Kobak, “Attachment and Early Social deprivation. Revisiting Harlow’s Monkey Studies”, in: Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012
Experiments Harlow Slater I 11
Experiments/attachment/affectation/Harlow: In a series of studies using the surrogate preference paradigm, Harlow demonstrated that infant monkeys showed large and consistent preferences for cloth surrogates that provided contact comfort over wire surrogates that provided food. The largest sample reported in the 1962 paper(1) consisted of 56 monkeys that had been raised in conditions of “partial social isolation.” These monkeys had been housed in cages where they could see and hear other monkeys. (…+…).
Slater I 13
In another set of studies (…) monkeys were exposed to a total social isolation, a condition in which they were individually housed in a cubicle with solid walls that eliminated all visual and auditory contact with other monkeys. (…) Harlow concluded that total social isolation for the first six months of life was a critical period that created irreversible effects on subsequent social adaptation. He indicated that this six-month period in the rhesus monkey was equivalent to the first two to three years of life for the human infant. (…+…). A set of studies varied the conditions and the degree of social isolation and the resulting behavior of the monkeys was described. ((s) The severity of the social restrictions corresponded to the length and severity of the isolation as well as the time of the beginning of the isolation in the life of the monkeys.)
Slater I 14
Harlow’s paper had an immediate impact on the ongoing debate about the importance of the mother-infant bond in child psychiatry. During the 1950s, John Bowlby a British psychiatrist had published a monograph (1951)(2) on the effects of maternal deprivation on children’s development. In his visits to Harlow’s lab in the 1950s, Bowlby may have been responsible for pointing out to Harlow that his cage-raised monkey colony created conditions that were equivalent to partial social isolation (Suomi, Horst, & Veer, 2008)(3).
Slater I 15
[Harlow’s] approach was influenced by European ethologists, particularly Robert Hinde, and by Harlow’s sensitivity to the effects of different rearing environments ranging from his lab, to the local zoo, to monkeys born and raised in the wild. Harlow’s creativity in designing laboratory environments that elicit attachment, fear, exploratory, and affiliative behavior showed a unique understanding of the importance of context in assessing how early social experience could influence subsequent development. He actively designed environments that tested the interplay between attachment, fear, and exploration. >Situation/Ainsworth. VsHarlow: The finding that rearing with age-mates could compensate for the effects of maternal deprivation on developing peer relationships was the most controversial and tentative finding in the 1962 paper(1). For criticism of Harlow, see >Behavior/Harlow.


1. Harlow, H. F., & Harlow, M. (1962). Social deprivation in monkeys. Scientific American, 207, 137–146.
2. Bowlby, J. (1951). Maternal care and mental health. New York: Columbia University Press.
3. Suomi, S. J., Horst, F. C. P., & Veer, R. (2008). Rigorous experiments on monkey love: An account of Harry F. Harlow’s role in the history of attachment theory. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 42, 354–369.


Roger Kobak, “Attachment and Early Social deprivation. Revisiting Harlow’s Monkey Studies”, in: Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications


Slater I
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012