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The current chapter involves Harlow's monkeys and attachment.  Whilst the world did learn a few interesting things from Harlow's initial experiments - his experiments became pretty sick in later years.

It was thought that babies only formed attachment because mothers gave them food.  He started off in studying attachment by noting how baby monkeys taken form their natural mothers became attached to cloth pads in their cages.  He then set up two metal figures; one dispensed milk and the surface was a wire mesh and was cold, the other had no milk but was covered in towelling and a lightbulb underneath gave out warmth.  The monkeys stayed with the cloth mother all the time and only went to the metal mother to feed and then came straight back.  And so the emotional side of maternal bonding was 'proved'.

So far we have studied the Millgram experiment (giving electric shocks to people), the Bandura experiment (encouraging kids to violently beat up a large doll), the Little Albert conditioning (frightening a kid into fearing a cuddly rat) experiment, the Zimbardo prison experiment (look it up if you haven't heard of it) and now Harlow.

Not an endearing bunch but a good introduction to why we have ethics committees.



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