Contact Comfort is The Key

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This experiment conducted by Harry Halow shows us the concept of contact comfort. The definition of Contact Comfort is "The positive emotions afforded by touch"(Lilienfeld 386). As you can see in the video, Harlow has a scary monster that he has built that has all of the characteristics that will scare a baby Rhesus monkey. These include loud noises, moving parts and big glowing eyes. When he exposes the monster to the monkey you can see the monkeys reaction as he freaks out and almost instantly runs to his fake terry cloth mother. Whats interesting about this is in the cage, the monkey has both a terry cloth mother that is soft, warm, but doesn't have nourishment and a wire mother that doesn't have cloth and is wire, but has nourishment. Harlow wanted to test whether the monkey will go to a figure that offers nourishment, which was the scientific basis at the time, or a figure that offers comfort. After his results you can clearly see that the monkey preferred to go the the figure that offered more comfort than the one that just offered nourishment. You can also see near the end of the video how the monkey seems to want to stand up to the machine instead of cower away. This also shows that he feels safer around the terry cloth figure because he thinks it will help defend him against the monster. This is what Harlow name Contact Comfort and changed how people view how we attach onto figures such as our parents.

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This page contains a single entry by hegwo010 published on November 5, 2011 8:45 PM.

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