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Science evolves to help provide better opportunities, yet in order to make these advancements science sometimes takes it too far. In the 1950’s an experiment was conducted to show the results of child and parent separation. The experiment was known as, “The Wire Mother Experiment.“ In context, the experiment consisted of infant monkeys separated from their mother’s to prove that affection wasn’t a necessity.

There were two ‘mother’s replicas, one made of hard wire that was able to provide food and the other had no food but was soft for comfort. Jack Harlow, the producer of the experiment, wanted to prove the human and animal instinct of feelings regarding the mind and to be, “…able to demonstrate the importance of early attachments, affection, and emotional bonds on the course of healthy development.”(Cherry). Articulating his initial intentions for his experiment.

The reasoning Jack Harlow even thought of testing such a cold theory is because, “Starting in the 1910s and peaking in the 1930s, doctors and psychologists actively advised parents against hugging, kissing, or cuddling children on the assumption such fawning attention would condition children to behave in a manner that was weak, codependent, and unbecoming.”(popsi) indicates that during that time period, society was focused on raising strong, intelligent and independent children and conditioning them to be self thinking, growing individuals in adulthood. Jack Harlow unfortunately begins to witness the sad reality of that theory and the damaging consequences that came with it, “…the baby monkeys became severely disturbed, sometimes to the point of starving themselves to death.”(Ferdowsian).

In addition to the statement made previously, it can further be implied that a loving mother that is doting towards her children is a necessity. These baby monkeys were willing to starve themselves for the sake of comfort instead of only relying on a reliable food source. This new found fact was enough to stop his questionable experimentation on these monkeys and he himself has also called his experiment as “too unethical and inhumane, even for monkeys” (Cummins).

Works Cited

Cherry, Kendra. “How Harry Harlow’s Research on Love Shaped How We Treat Children Today.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 3 Dec. 2020, https://www.verywellmind.com/harry-harlow-and-the-nature-of-love-2795255.

Cummins, Eleanor. “These 1950s Experiments Showed Us the Trauma of Parent-Child Separation. Now Experts Say They’re Too Unethical to Repeat-Even on Monkeys.” Popular Science, 26 Apr. 2021, https://www.popsci.com/1950s-experiments-attachment-unethical/.

Ferdowsian, Hope. “Interview with Dr. John Gluck, Researcher & Author.” Hope Ferdowsian, MD, MPH – Physician, Author, Advocate, 6 Nov. 2019, https://www.hopeferdowsian.com/learning-see-animals/.

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November 16, 2021 3:54 am

Dear Adalia:
I am intrigued by your post, “The damages of child and mother separation,” because it’s interesting to hear about “The Wired Mother Experiment”. As well as listening to the reactions of the animals and what happens to them when having a mother and when being deprived of a mother.
One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Harlow unfortunately begins to witness the sad reality of that theory and the damaging consequences that came with it, “…the baby monkeys became severely disturbed, sometimes to the point of starving themselves to death.”(Ferdowsian).” I think this is important because many people want to deprive children from their parents so they won’t be weak and vulnerable. In reality, they should have been nurturing their children because this could lead to problems later on for their children.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because it is interesting to see how you worded and formatted your post. I like how you used sources and organized them.
Vivianne

November 8, 2021 4:12 pm

Dear Adalia,
I am amazed that you talked about this topic because many humans go through this problem that they grow up without a mother and it effects them. The result of this experiment was very heartbreaking. I feel that it is very overlooked how much animals have feelings just as humans, and this experiment helps prove that.

I find it crazy how many animals have emotions just like we do. One sentence that was written that stands out to me is, ¨This new found fact was enough to stop his questionable experimentation on these monkeys and he himself has also called his experiment as “too unethical and inhumane, even for monkeys¨. They had to stop it because it was to heartbreaking even for animals. This was a very interesting post.

November 7, 2021 4:28 am

Dear Adalia,

I am in awe of your post “The Damages of Child on Mother Separation” because it is a sad and fascinating realization of how much the separation between a mother and her child can affect them. The result of this experiment was very heartbreaking. I feel that it is very overlooked how much animals have feelings just as humans, and this experiment helps prove that.

One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is ” This newfound fact was enough to stop his questionable experimentation on these monkeys and he himself has also called his experiment as ‘too unethical and inhumane, even for monkeys'” because hopefully, this will open the eyes of others who are producing experiments on animals and cause an end to many of them.

Thank you foryour witing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because this was a very interesting topic that you discussed very well.

Andrea

Madison
November 5, 2021 7:29 pm

It makes sense to want to study what happens, yet its sad that it needs to be studied to know the effects

November 5, 2021 5:25 pm

Hello,
I was very suprised to learn of this experiment! It breaks my heart that such blatant cruelty is allowed to happen to innocent animals. Before I read your article, I never knew that there were issues such as these in the animal world. I completely agree with the fact that sometimes science takes it too far, as we have seen here and in the Stanford Prison Experiment. Even if a study of this type is beneficial to us, we still need to keep in mind our morals.

November 3, 2021 3:45 pm

Dear Adalia,
I am surprised by your post, “The Damages of Child and Mother Separation” especially by the severe results of the experiment. I had already known about the child neglect and abuse that was prevalent back then but I had no idea literal doctors were advising parents to neglect their children!
I think it’s interesting as much as it is sad that parents were willing to neglect their children in hopes that they would produce “productive” members of society. It’s kind of scary how much we tie self worth to our work ethic.
Thank you for talking about the history of child care, I think it’s a really important topic and I enjoyed your writing!

November 3, 2021 1:51 am

Dear Adalia,
I am astonished by your post, “The Damages of Child and Mother Separation” because it amazes me how much parent and child separation can even affect animals. It makes it very clear to me that if parent and child separation affects animals at such a great level to the point of starvation then it can definitely affect humans too.

One sentence that stood out to me is “These baby monkeys were willing to starve themselves for the sake of comfort instead of only relying on a reliable food source.”. I think this says a lot about the necessity for a parent’s comfort rather than materialistic needs.

Thank you for writing this post. I really enjoyed learning something new today.

Natalie
Natalie
November 2, 2021 5:59 pm

Dear Adalia, I am fascinated by your post “The Damages of Child and Mother Separation” because it really opened my eyes to understand just how important comfort and love to a child. Depending on how much comfort a child gets, determines how they will grow up.

One sentence you wrote that stands is, “These baby monkeys were willing to starve themselves for the sake of comfort instead of only relying on a reliable food source.” I think this is saddening yet touching. This goes to show how much children need their mothers and it should encourage them to always be there for their kids. it was also saddening because I understand that there are children all over the world who do not have their parents and they unfortunately miss out on that special bond.

Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because your posts are very interesting. They also allow people to learn new things they have never even thought about before, and allows them to look at things from a new perspective.
-Natalie.

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