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Friday Fun: Cloth Monkey, Wire Monkey [video]

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In the 1950s, psychologist Harry Harlow began to study mother-infant relations in monkeys. After depriving young monkeys from their biological mothers, they were placed in a room where they could either hang out with a “wire monkey” – essentially, a metal figure in the rough shape of a monkey – or a “cloth monkey,” which was the same figure, adorned in a fuzzy terry cloth coat. The key, though, was the only the wire monkey would provide nourishment. The cloth monkey had no food or drink to give.

He was a bit surprised to find that the baby monkeys spent most of their time with the cloth monkeys, only approaching the wire monkeys when hungry.

Now, half a century later, teacher Brad Wray and his independent study students from Arundel High School in Maryland have set one of those experiments to music.

Want to learn more about Harlow? Check out Deborah Blum’s Love at Goon Park

via Association for Psychological Science

Jason G. Goldman About the Author: Dr. Jason G. Goldman received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Southern California, where he studied the evolutionary and developmental origins of the mind in humans and non-human animals. Jason is also an editor at ScienceSeeker and Editor of Open Lab 2010. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. Follow on . Follow on Twitter @jgold85.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. bouckau 1:21 pm 04/13/2012

    Fun! There’s a teacher here at OSU who teaches Biochemistry through song.

    Link to this
  2. 2. Geoff_Dunn 7:12 pm 04/16/2012

    I remember seeing this photo as a child (in a TIME-LIFE library) and being struck by feelings for that little baby monkey huddling close to a vacant facsimile of it’s mother. I understood (even then and perhaps because I was a child) that even though science was important it also affected those subjected to it’s eye.

    Link to this

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