Background on Love Theories • Freudian Theory • Focused on the bond between you and your mother beginning at the first moment of birth is first experience of love. • Focused on oral tendencies • Behaviorist Theory • All human behavior is associated with primary needs. • Examples: Hunger, thirst and avoidance of pain • Because the mom can provide these needs the child becomes attached.
Background on Love Theories • Harlow’s Theory • Love and affection are stronger than primary needs. • Most Prevalent Theory • Most psychologists agree that your experiences as an infant with closeness and attachment to your mother have an important influence on your abilities to love later in life.
Harlow’s Study • Surrogate mothers placed in separate cubicles and attached to monkeys cage. • Eight infant monkeys randomly assigned to two groups. • One group had Cloth mother equipped with a feeder. • Second group had wire mother equipped with a feeder. • Amount of time they spent in direct contact with each mother was recorded for the first five months of their lives.
Cloth Mother: Smooth wooden body covered in sponge rubber and terry cloth. Wire Mother: Made out of wire mesh and considered by Harlow to have no contact comfort.
Results • After the first few days all the monkeys, regardless of which mother had the milk, were spending nearly all their time each day on the cloth mother. • Monkeys being fed by wire mother only left the cloth mother for a short time to get food. • This demonstrated the importance of contact comfort.
After this study Harlow wanted to explore the effects of attachment and contact comfort in greater detail. • Harlow placed various objects in the cage that would cause a fearful reaction. (Wind up drum playing toy bear) • Responses of the monkeys were observed and recorded. • Results • Whenever the monkeys found it frightening they ran to the cloth mother for comfort. • As the monkeys age increased the response became even stronger.
Open Field Test • After six months of being in contact with the surrogate mothers Harlow wanted to see if attachments were formed after periods of separation. • Separated for a short period of time and then reunited • Monkeys placed in a small unfamiliar room containing various objects. • Wooden blocks, blankets, folded piece of paper • Things monkeys like to play with and manipulate • Situations • Cloth mother present • Wire mother present • No mother present
Results • If cloth mother was present the monkeys ran immediately to the cloth mother. Would eventually look at an object for a while and run to cloth mother again.
Results • Without the cloth mother the monkeys would freeze with fear, start crying, crouching and thumb sucking. • When wire mother was present the monkeys would act the same as the no mother condition.
Conclusions • Bonding appears to be more important than food. • Went against what was thought of at the time • Harlow theorized that because the key to successful parenting is contact comfort, then males are just as able to care for a child as women. • This offered hope for adoptive parents and day care centers.
Discussion Questions • Can monkeys behaviors be comparable to humans? Why or Why not? • Do you think this study was a good representation of love attachment versus primary needs attachment? • Do you feel attachment as a child is a predictor of how you will love later in life? • Do you side with the Freudian perspective of attachment as a child due to oral fixation?