Before the 1950’s many scientists and parents believed that attachment to children would cause them to become dependent and spoiled (Pitman, 2010). Parents did not want to coddle their children in the fear of spoiling them. However, later research which took place in the 1950’s began to change the outlook on how infants and children should be cared for in order to have a healthy development. Researchers such as John Bowlby, Rene Ritz, and William Goldfarb had fascinating findings that influenced the way that parents created attachments with their children (History Module: The Devastating Effects of Isolation on Social Behaviour (n.d.). Thus, parenting changed from giving little attention to infants and children to making sure that they feel comforted and secure and have a strong bond with the parent. In this section, the sociocultural aspects of times before and during the 1950’s will be addressed as well as research from John Bowlby and William Goldfarb will be discussed to create a picture of the research that was being done during the time that Harry Harlow wrote his article, Affectional Responses in the Infant Monkey in 1959.
Around the time that Harlow was doing his research psychologists rejected the term love when discussing the bond between an infant and their mother (New World Encyclopedia, 2014). Instead, psychologists used the term proximity to explain the bond that should take place between the mother and the infant (New World Encyclopedia, 2014). As well, during that time it was thought that paying attention to young children was seen as spoiling them. So, parents would try to avoid comfort and affection with their children so that they could be more indep...
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...e results from this study indicated that the children who were institutionalized for the first three years of their life tended to have behavioural problems, less mature socially and emotionally drawn from relationships than the children who were brought up in foster homes at a young age (Orphans, 2016). Therefore, the results of these findings indicated that children need to be in an environment where they are constantly loved by caregivers that provide stimulation and examples for proper development.
Overall, during the 1950’s, when Harlow was writing the article, it was evident that the sociocultural context during that time was very focused on the importance of the attachment between the infant and the caregiver. It is evident that the research quickly changed from keeping distance from infants to making sure that you form a close bond for healthy development.
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