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Harry Harlow and the Rhesus Monkeys

Autor:   •  March 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  632 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,254 Views

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Harry Harlow and the Rhesus Monkeys

Harry Harlow is somewhat of a pioneer for his experiments with the rhesus monkeys. I agree with the results he found during the experiment, although I do not agree with the methods he used to get them. His critic Deborah Blum is correct when she said his results are "common sense results".

Any social creature that is put in an isolated environment for long periods will become socially inapt. Humans for example are very social and need other human contact to maintain sanity. We need comfort from our mothers and joy from our friends to properly perform in society. A person who is a "loaner" is usually perceived as strange or weird at times when they around other people. This is probably due to the fact that they have little experience with other human contact.

Harlow's experiment only proved what we already know. That isolation is cruel and unusual punishment for any creature man or animal. His student is correct when he made the assumption that Harlow believed that he only had ten years left to live so he figured he could make a mess for someone else to clean up after he died. The monkeys that he experimented on are damaged for life and the process isn't as easy to reverse as it would be to a human although it is possible.

This experiment reminded me of the movie Cast Away starring Tom Hanks. Even though Tom was not isolated at birth he crashed the plane on that island and lost all human contact. He later became somewhat insane and found companionship in a volleyball which he named Wilson which shows that all humans need contact from other humans to survive. Once Wilson was lost in the ocean Tom was devastated to lose his only friend on the island.

Another example of isolation resulting in social malfunction is my neighbor's Chihuahua named Tequila. I believe that dogs, like humans are social creatures and


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