Basic Concepts and Principles in Psychology

Basic Concepts and Principles in Psychology

Kaplan University

PS124 – Unit 3 Assignment

The study that I have selected is the Harlow’s Monkey Experiments. In this experiment, Harlow wanted to study human relationships and how science can study the love between a mother and her child. He believed that love and the lack of love could make a huge impression on a person’s young life.

During his experiment, Harlow, took a baby monkey and separated him from his mother. He exposed the monkey to two things a wire mother that fed it and a cloth mother that just provides comfort and security. The experiment went on to show that the baby monkey was more attached to the cloth mother because it provided a sense of comfort and love for the baby monkey. As human being we seek love and attention to comfort us, especially babies and children. It is necessary for them to have it because as a person grows so does their emotional and behavioral characteristics. Even though it would go to the wire mother for nourishment it always came back to the cloth mother for love and would stay with it longer periods of time. When the cloth mother was taken a way to be cleaned. The baby monkey would experience signs of attachment issues and display high anxiety. Harlow also saw the same in children, when they are separated from their mothers. He believed that love and the lack of love could make a huge impression on a young person’s life. A person’s early stages in life and how they were raised gives a big impact and impression on that person as an adult. The belief from Harlow’s perspective is that it could explain how a person’s behavior develops in life and how they deal with their family, other people and society and themselves.

 The impact of heredity (nature) on a person is the genetic influence which comes from the parents. (Meyer, 2014) It is responsible for the growth of a person. The genetic influence on a person is the color of the skin and the color and of the eyes, a person’s hair and their distinguishing looks and marks formed from birth. The environment and development influence (nurture) on a person is establish from what a person experience in their life. Meyers, 2014) This could be how they were raised, their peer influences and their culture. Nurture establishes who they are in life. The one that is demonstrated in this study is nurture. The baby monkey still has its genetic traits (nature) from his mother. The baby monkey responds to its environment, it never knew its mother and because it was separated from her when it was born, the baby monkey clings on to the only thing that gives it comfort and love and that is cloth mother.

Social observational learning is learning by watching another person’s behavior. It is not demonstrated in the study I selected. The study I selected, dealt with the behavior and emotions from experiencing attachment issues without a parent. Its focus was to see how not being in a nurturing relationship with a caretaker or parent could affect the emotional and psychological aspects of a person. It also demonstrated that from an early age nurturing is an essential need in a baby’s development, it provides a person with how they will communicate and interact with other people and life itself.

According to the code of ethics, Human Relations, there is to be no psychological or physical harm done to the subject by a psychologist. (APA, 2017) I thought these experiments were very unethical to do on the baby monkeys. Although, there were positive results of the experiment, it was a sadistic way of proving a theory.


Myers, D. G. (06/2014). Exploring Psychology with Updates on DSM-5, 9th Edition. [Kaplan]. Retrieved from


American Psychological Association,(2017), Revision of Ethics Code Standard 3.04(Avoiding Harm),

Sasss1. (Sep. 17,2012) Harlow’s Monkeys.

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