The nature of love by h. harlow

One of the most interesting aspects of this study was the finding that bonding is more important than necessary items, like milk. ” In fact, this factor in bonding appears to be considerably more important than the mother’s ability to provide life-sustaining milk to the infant.” (Harlow) What a powerful statement when it was frequently thought that survival or self-preservation was the key motivating factor in development.
This interesting study highlighted well the various aspects of nurturing and bonding between mother and infant. It was concise as well as thorough in explaining the details of the projects and the outcomes.
The ” open field test” was interesting in that it showed a child’s ability to relate to and explore their world when they felt the safety and comfort of a mother nearby. The fact that the young monkey felt secure and able to explore unfamiliar surroundings when their mother was nearby was a crucial part of the study.
In addition to referencing how the monkeys reacted, the study touches on the topic of the mother/child bonding process and the findings that show that fathers may provide the same nurturing abilities.
Still, the study leaves the question of to what extent does child abuse affects a child’s emotional growth and connection. Is the connection based on fear Or is the connection still formed by a sense of softness and warmth If so, how was that originally established if the relationship was abusive
Other than not fully disclosing how the actual human mother/child relationship develops, the study of the monkeys showed intriguing evidence that the presence of softness and nurturing is necessary for a child’s emotional security and growth.
I believe it was a thorough study that took various considerations into account: how the monkey reacted when given a choice between the two mothers; the outcome when a monkey is separated for a period of time; and the ways monkeys displayed fear in new circumstances when the comforting cloth monkey was not available.
Although the inability to use human subjects hinders the study to an extent it appears to show the relationship between mother and child, the necessary bonding between the two, as well as the therapeutic value of touch, in general. The possibilities suggested encourage new developments and opportunities to explore the nurturing ability given by a caretaker, and the potential it offers in learning about the emotional development of children.