Contact Comfort; The Terrifying And Essential Work Of Harry Harlow

There was a time where psychology didn’t align with our modern day common sense.

A time where almost any affection transferred from parent to child through physical touch was considered ‘coddling’.

There was a genuine fear that if you comforted a child during a time where they hadn’t ‘earned’ positive enforcement, you would be taking an active and sinister role in weakening the child’s psychological state.

Of course, this science has now been widely debunked.

But we wouldn’t be there without the brilliant and horrifying work of Harry Harlow.

After personally building his own laboratory, Harlow conducted an array of studies which revolved around the isolation and maternal deprivation of rhesus monkeys.

From a modern perspective, these studies almost seem like a barbaric way to prove a simple truth. But at the time, they were highly contested by the scientific community. Freud’s theory on attachment was widespread at the time.

Psychologists genuinely didn’t believe that children needed love, and Harlow proved otherwise. Albeit at the tragic expense of a group of rhesus monkeys.

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