Contact Comfort: A basis for forming attachments and more.

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This theory shows that babies form attachments to their parents not because of the nourishment they provide but the physical contact which they have with their babies-leading them to feel positive emotions. Contact comfort is the substitute for imprinting in some mammals, the young will form attachments to whoever (or whatever, in the case of rhesus monkeys) provides them with the most comfortable physical touch.
They will be more inclined to seek the person (or thing) that provided them with this comfort when faced with a scary stimulus. In rhesus monkeys, Harlow showed that this need was greater than the need for nourishment.
In addition to this, it is also essential for good physical and emotional health and development. Children who grow up in orphanages are sometimes seen to have poor weight gain, infants tend to sicken and die if they don't have any physical contact. More information can be found on this hypothesis here.
It has also been found that premature babies can be helped by gentle massaging and other physical contact with their parents. This is a way of ensuring their survival and also making sure that they grow up healthy.

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This page contains a single entry by gunda007 published on November 6, 2011 6:41 PM.

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