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Attachment: Is Harlows monkey study relatable to Bowlby's theory?

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    • Thread Starter

    Hi there,
    So for an evaluative point, could I say that Harlow's study showed that the monkeys who underwent maternal deprivation were, in general, less sociable, more aggressive, did not mate as frequently as adults, and when they did have infants, they would reject or even attack their infants. This supports Bowlby's idea of an internal working model of relationships coming from attachment as Harlow's study would show that the monkeys had faulty or even non-existent working models of social relationships or how to parent properly.
    What I'm asking is, would this be correct to say as an evaluative point in an essay evaluating Bowlby's theory?

    Harlow supports Bowlbys idea that we have evolved to attach. We need attachment to survive (comfort, food etc) and supports that social and emotional development may be damaged if an attachment isn't formed (deprivation/privation).

    It also goes against the idea of monotropy. Other motherless monkeys that grew up with others didn't show signs of social and emotional problems. They had no primary caregiver but attached to peers instead.

    Internal working models are formed because of attachments. The monkeys had no attachments prior to starting but attached to a cloth monkey. Due to this they didn't develop properly and would subsequently females were violent and bad mothers to their offspring.

    You'd need to mention that it's unethical to use animals and the monkeys suffered psychological damage after the study was over due to isolation and distress. It lacks ecological validity and can't be generalised.

    You could talk about Bowlby's idea of a critical/sensitive period too.

    The young monkey's missed this period and thus didn't develop properly later on(socially, emotionally, etc).
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