#765 Man cannot live by milk alone

Harlow smelled a rat. He raised infant rhesus monkeys without mothers. Instead, he gave them a choice of two types of artificial “surrogate” mothers. One pseudo-mother had a monkey head constructed of wood and a wire-mesh tube resembling a torso. In the middle of the torso was a bottle of milk. This surrogate mother gave nutrition. The other surrogate mother had a similar head and wire-mesh torso. But instead of containing a milk bottle, this one’s torso was wrapped in terry cloth. The behaviorists and the Freudians would be snuggling up to the milk-mom within seconds. But not the baby monkeys—they chose the terry-cloth mothers. Kids don’t love their mothers because Mom balances their nutritive intake, these results suggested. They love them because, usually, Mom loves them back, or at least is someone soft to cling to. “Man cannot live by milk alone. Love is an emotion that does not need to be bottle- or spoon-fed,” wrote Harlow.

  • From “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping”
    by Robert M. Sapolsky
     

 

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