Harry Harlow

Last updated
Harry F. Harlow
Born(1905-10-31)October 31, 1905
DiedDecember 6, 1981(1981-12-06) (aged 76)
Nationality American
Alma mater Reed College, Stanford University
Awards National Medal of Science (1967)
Gold Medal from American Psychological
Foundation (1973)
Howard Crosby Warren Medal (1956)
Scientific career
Fields Psychology
Doctoral advisor Lewis Terman
Doctoral students Abraham Maslow, Stephen Suomi
Monkey subject is approaching to the cloth mother surrogate in fear test Natural of Love Typical response to cloth mother surrogate in fear test.jpg
Monkey subject is approaching to the cloth mother surrogate in fear test

Harry Frederick Harlow (October 31, 1905 – December 6, 1981) was an American psychologist best known for his maternal-separation, dependency needs, and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which manifested the importance of caregiving and companionship to social and cognitive development. He conducted most of his research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow worked with him for a short period of time.

Psychologist professional who evaluates, diagnoses, treats, and studies behavior and mental processes

A psychologist studies normal and abnormal mental states, perceptual, cognitive, emotional, and social processes and behavior by experimenting with, and observing, interpreting, and recording how individuals relate to one another and to their environments. Most psychologists need a license to practice psychology. Typically, psychologists need a doctoral degree in psychology, although a master's degree is sufficient in some situations. Licensing and regulations can vary by country and profession.

Social isolation is a state of complete or near-complete lack of contact between an individual and society. It differs from loneliness, which reflects temporary and involuntary lack of contact with other humans in the world. Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, though symptoms may differ by age group.

Cognitive development is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology focusing on a child's development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of the developed adult brain and cognitive psychology. Qualitative differences between how a child processes their waking experience and how an adult processes their waking experience are acknowledged. Cognitive development is defined in adult terms as the emergence of ability to consciously cognize and consciously understand and articulate their understanding. From an adult point of view, cognitive development can also be called intellectual development.


Harlow's experiments were controversial; they included creating inanimate surrogate mothers for the rhesus infants from wire and wool. Each infant became attached to its particular mother, recognizing its unique face and preferring it above others. Harlow next chose to investigate if the infants had a preference for bare-wire mothers or cloth-covered mothers. For this experiment, he presented the infants with a clothed "mother" and a wire "mother" under two conditions. In one situation, the wire mother held a bottle with food, and the cloth mother held no food. In the other situation, the cloth mother held the bottle, and the wire mother had nothing. Also later in his career, he cultivated infant monkeys in isolation chambers for up to 24 months, from which they emerged intensely disturbed. [1] Some researchers cite the experiments as a factor in the rise of the animal liberation movement in the United States. [2] A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Harlow as the 26th most cited psychologist of the 20th century. [3]

Pit of despair

The Pit of despair was a name used by American comparative psychologist Harry Harlow for a device he designed, technically called a vertical chamber apparatus, that he used in experiments on rhesus macaque monkeys at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the 1970s. The aim of the research was to produce an animal model of clinical depression. Researcher Stephen Suomi described the device as "little more than a stainless-steel trough with sides that sloped to a rounded bottom":

A ​38 in. wire mesh floor 1 in. above the bottom of the chamber allowed waste material to drop through the drain and out of holes drilled in the stainless-steel. The chamber was equipped with a food box and a water-bottle holder, and was covered with a pyramid top [removed in the accompanying photograph], designed to discourage incarcerated subjects from hanging from the upper part of the chamber.

<i>Review of General Psychology</i> journal

Review of General Psychology is the quarterly scientific journal of the American Psychological Association Division 1: The Society for General Psychology. Review of General Psychology publishes cross-disciplinary psychological articles that are conceptual, theoretical, and methodological in nature. Other aspects of the journal include the evaluation and integration of research literature and the providing of historical analysis. The first issue of the Review appeared in 1997. The current editor is Gerianne M. Alexander of Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.


Harry Harlow was born on October 31, 1905, to Mabel Rock and Alonzo Harlow Israel. Harlow was born and raised in Fairfield, Iowa, the third of four brothers. [4] After a year at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Harlow obtained admission to Stanford University through a special aptitude test. After a semester as an English major with nearly disastrous grades, he declared himself as a psychology major. [5]

Reed College private liberal arts college located in the U.S. state of Oregon

Reed College is a private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1908, Reed is a residential college with a campus in the Eastmoreland neighborhood, with Tudor-Gothic style architecture, and a forested canyon nature preserve at its center.

Portland, Oregon city in Oregon, USA

Portland, officially the City of Portland, is the largest and most populous city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Multnomah County. It is a major port in the Willamette Valley region of the Pacific Northwest, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. As of 2018, Portland had an estimated population of 653,115, making it the 25th most populated city in the United States, and the second-most populous in the Pacific Northwest after Seattle. Approximately 2.4 million people live in the Portland metropolitan statistical area (MSA), making it the 25th most populous in the United States. Its combined statistical area (CSA) ranks 19th-largest with a population of around 3.2 million. Approximately 60% of Oregon's population resides within the Portland metropolitan area.

Stanford University Private research university in Stanford, California

Leland Stanford Junior University is a private research university in Stanford, California. Stanford is known for its academic achievements, wealth, close proximity to Silicon Valley, and selectivity; it ranks as one of the world's top universities.

Harlow attended Stanford in 1924, and subsequently became a graduate student in psychology, working directly under Calvin Perry Stone, a well-known animal behaviorist, and Walter Richard Miles, a vision expert, who were all supervised by Lewis Terman. [4] Harlow studied largely under Terman, the developer of the Stanford-Binet IQ Test, and Terman helped shape Harlow's future. After receiving a PhD in 1930, Harlow changed his name from Israel to Harlow. [6] The change was made at Terman's prompting for fear of the negative consequences of having a seemingly Jewish last name, even though his family was not Jewish. [4]

Calvin Perry Stone was an American psychologist, known for his work in comparative and physiological psychology. He was also a past president of the American Psychological Association (APA) and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).

Walter Richard Miles American psychologist

Walter Richard Miles was an American psychologist and a president of the American Psychological Association (APA). He best known for his development of the two-story rat maze, his research on low dose alcohol, the development of red night vision goggles for aviation pilots, and the reduction of performance in aging individuals. However, the theme of his academic career was his fascination with apparatuses to measure behavior. C. James Goodwin (2003) noted that Miles "never became a leading figure in any particular area of research in psychology... but drifted from one area to another, with the direction of the drift determined often by the presence of a particular type of apparatus or an apparatus-related problem that intrigued him" (p. 58).

Lewis Terman American educational psychologist and academic

Lewis Madison Terman was an American psychologist and author. He was noted as a pioneer in educational psychology in the early 20th century at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He is best known for his revision of the Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales and for initiating the longitudinal study of children with high IQs called the Genetic Studies of Genius. He was a prominent eugenicist and was a member of the Human Betterment Foundation. He also served as president of the American Psychological Association. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Terman as the 72nd most cited psychologist of the 20th century, in a tie with G. Stanley Hall.

Directly after completing his doctoral dissertation, Harlow accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Harlow was unsuccessful in persuading the Department of Psychology to provide him with adequate laboratory space. As a result, Harlow acquired a vacant building down the street from the University, and, with the assistance of his graduate students, renovated the building into what later became known as the Primate Laboratory, [2] one of the first of its kind in the world. Under Harlow's direction, it became a place of cutting-edge research at which some 40 students earned their PhDs.

University of Wisconsin–Madison Public university in Wisconsin, USA

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university in Madison, Wisconsin. Founded when Wisconsin achieved statehood in 1848, UW–Madison is the official state university of Wisconsin, and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It was the first public university established in Wisconsin and remains the oldest and largest public university in the state. It became a land-grant institution in 1866. The 933-acre (378 ha) main campus, located on the shores of Lake Mendota, includes four National Historic Landmarks. The University also owns and operates a historic 1,200-acre (486 ha) arboretum established in 1932, located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the main campus.

Harlow received numerous awards and honors, including the Howard Crosby Warren Medal (1956), the National Medal of Science (1967), and the Gold Medal from the American Psychological Foundation (1973). He served as head of the Human Resources Research branch of the Department of the Army from 1950–1952, head of the Division of Anthropology and Psychology of the National Research Council from 1952–1955, consultant to the Army Scientific Advisory Panel, and president of the American Psychological Association from 1958–1959.

The Society of Experimental Psychologists (SEP), originally called the Society of Experimentalists, is an academic society for experimental psychologists. It was founded by Edward Bradford Titchener in 1904 to be an ongoing workshop in which members could visit labs, study apparatus, and hear and comment on reports of ongoing research. Upon Titchener’s death in 1927 the club was reorganized and renamed the Society of Experimental Psychologists. The object of the society is “To advance psychology by arranging informal conferences on experimental psychology.”

National Medal of Science science award

The National Medal of Science is an honor bestowed by the President of the United States to individuals in science and engineering who have made important contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the fields of behavioral and social sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and physics. The twelve member presidential Committee on the National Medal of Science is responsible for selecting award recipients and is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) was created on November 28, 1975, pursuant to Section 25(d) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, to provide scientific advice on pesticides and pesticide related issues as to the impact on health and the environment of certain regulatory actions. The Food Quality Protection Act established a Science Review Board consisting of 60 scientists who are available to the Scientific Advisory Panel on an ad hoc basis to assist in reviews conducted by the Panel. The role of the SAP has been expanded to that of a peer review body for current scientific issues that may influence the direction of EPA’s regulatory decisions. The Panel is composed of seven members who are selected on the basis of their professional qualifications to assess the impact of pesticides on health and the environment. Members are appointed by the EPA Administrator from a list of 12 nominees submitted by the National Institutes of Health and the National Academy of Sciences.

Harlow married his first wife, Clara Mears, in 1932. One of the select students with an IQ above 150 whom Terman studied at Stanford, Clara was Harlow's student before becoming romantically involved with him. The couple had two children together, Robert and Richard. Harlow and Mears divorced in 1946. That same year, Harlow married child psychologist Margaret Kuenne. They had two children together, Pamela and Jonathan. Margaret died on 11 August 1971, after a prolonged struggle with cancer, with which she had been diagnosed in 1967. [7] Her death led Harlow to depression, for which he was treated with electro-convulsive therapy. [8] In March 1972, Harlow remarried Clara Mears. The couple lived together in Tucson, Arizona until Harlow's death in 1981. [2]

Monkey studies

Harlow came to the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1930 [9] after obtaining his doctorate under the guidance of several distinguished researchers, including Calvin Stone and Lewis Terman, at Stanford University. He began his career with nonhuman primate research. He worked with the primates at Henry Vilas Zoo, where he developed the Wisconsin General Testing Apparatus (WGTA) to study learning, cognition, and memory. It was through these studies that Harlow discovered that the monkeys he worked with were developing strategies for his tests. What would later become known as learning sets, Harlow described as "learning to learn." [10]

Harlow exclusively used rhesus macaques in his experiments. Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta) (5780783616).jpg
Harlow exclusively used rhesus macaques in his experiments.

In order to study the development of these learning sets, Harlow needed access to developing primates, so he established a breeding colony of rhesus macaques in 1932. Due to the nature of his study, Harlow needed regular access to infant primates and thus chose to rear them in a nursery setting, rather than with their protective mothers. [10] This alternative rearing technique, also called maternal deprivation, is highly controversial to this day, and is used, in variants, as a model of early life adversity in primates.

Love Wire and cloth mother surrogates Natural of Love Wire and cloth mother surrogates.jpg
Love Wire and cloth mother surrogates

Research with and caring for infant rhesus monkeys further inspired Harlow, and ultimately led to some of his best-known experiments: the use of surrogate mothers. Although Harlow, his students, contemporaries, and associates soon learned how to care for the physical needs of their infant monkeys, the nursery-reared infants remained very different from their mother-reared peers. Psychologically speaking, these infants were slightly strange: they were reclusive, had definite social deficits, and clung to their cloth diapers. [10] For instance, babies that had grown up with only a mother and no playmates showed signs of fear or aggressiveness. [11]

Noticing their attachment to the soft cloth of their diapers and the psychological changes that correlated with the absence of a maternal figure, Harlow sought to investigate the mother–infant bond. [10] This relationship was under constant scrutiny in the early twentieth century, as B. F. Skinner and the behaviorists took on John Bowlby in a discussion of the mother's importance in the development of the child, the nature of their relationship, and the impact of physical contact between mother and child.

The studies were motivated by John Bowlby's World Health Organization-sponsored study and report, "Maternal Care and Mental Health" in 1950, in which Bowlby reviewed previous studies on the effects of institutionalization on child development, and the distress experienced by children when separated from their mothers, [12] such as René Spitz's [13] and his own surveys on children raised in a variety of settings. In 1953, his colleague, James Robertson, produced a short and controversial documentary film, titled A Two-Year-Old Goes to Hospital, demonstrating the almost-immediate effects of maternal separation. [14] Bowlby's report, coupled with Robertson's film, demonstrated the importance of the primary caregiver in human and non-human primate development. Bowlby de-emphasized the mother's role in feeding as a basis for the development of a strong mother–child relationship, but his conclusions generated much debate. It was the debate concerning the reasons behind the demonstrated need for maternal care that Harlow addressed in his studies with surrogates. Physical contact with infants was considered harmful to their development, and this view led to sterile, contact-less nurseries across the country. Bowlby disagreed, claiming that the mother provides much more than food to the infant, including a unique bond that positively influences the child's development and mental health.

To investigate the debate, Harlow created inanimate surrogate mothers for the rhesus infants from wire and wood. [10] Each infant became attached to its particular mother, recognizing its unique face and preferring it above all others. Harlow next chose to investigate if the infants had a preference for bare-wire mothers or cloth-covered mothers. For this experiment, he presented the infants with a clothed mother and a wire mother under two conditions. In one situation, the wire mother held a bottle with food, and the cloth mother held no food. In the other situation, the cloth mother held the bottle, and the wire mother had nothing. [10]

Overwhelmingly, the infant macaques preferred spending their time clinging to the cloth mother. [10] Even when only the wire mother could provide nourishment, the monkeys visited her only to feed. Harlow concluded that there was much more to the mother–infant relationship than milk, and that this "contact comfort" was essential to the psychological development and health of infant monkeys and children. It was this research that gave strong, empirical support to Bowlby's assertions on the importance of love and mother–child interaction.

Successive experiments concluded that infants used the surrogate as a base for exploration, and a source of comfort and protection in novel and even frightening situations. [15] In an experiment called the "open-field test", an infant was placed in a novel environment with novel objects. When the infant's surrogate mother was present, it clung to her, but then began venturing off to explore. If frightened, the infant ran back to the surrogate mother and clung to her for a time before venturing out again. Without the surrogate mother's presence, the monkeys were paralyzed with fear, huddling in a ball and sucking their thumbs. [15]

In the "fear test", infants were presented with a fearful stimulus, often a noise-making teddy bear. [15] Without the mother, the infants cowered and avoided the object. When the surrogate mother was present, however, the infant did not show great fearful responses and often contacted the device—exploring and attacking it.

Another study looked at the differentiated effects of being raised with only either a wire-mother or a cloth-mother. [15] Both groups gained weight at equal rates, but the monkeys raised on a wire-mother had softer stool and trouble digesting the milk, frequently suffering from diarrhea. Harlow's interpretation of this behavior, which is still widely accepted, was that a lack of contact comfort is psychologically stressful to the monkeys, and the digestive problems are a physiological manifestation of that stress. [15]

The importance of these findings is that they contradicted both the traditional pedagogic advice of limiting or avoiding bodily contact in an attempt to avoid spoiling children, and the insistence of the predominant behaviorist school of psychology that emotions were negligible. Feeding was thought to be the most important factor in the formation of a mother–child bond. Harlow concluded, however, that nursing strengthened the mother–child bond because of the intimate body contact that it provided. He described his experiments as a study of love. He also believed that contact comfort could be provided by either mother or father. Though widely accepted now, this idea was revolutionary at the time in provoking thoughts and values concerning the studies of love. [16]

Some of Harlow's final experiments explored social deprivation in the quest to create an animal model for the study of depression. This study is the most controversial, and involved isolation of infant and juvenile macaques for various periods of time. Monkeys placed in isolation exhibited social deficits when introduced or re-introduced into a peer group. They appeared unsure of how to interact with their conspecifics, and mostly stayed separate from the group, demonstrating the importance of social interaction and stimuli in forming the ability to interact with conspecifics in developing monkeys, and, comparatively, in children.

Critics of Harlow's research have observed that clinging is a matter of survival in young rhesus monkeys, but not in humans, and have suggested that his conclusions, when applied to humans, overestimate the importance of contact comfort and underestimate the importance of nursing. [17]

Harlow first reported the results of these experiments in "The Nature of Love", the title of his address to the sixty-sixth Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C., August 31, 1958. [18]

Partial and total isolation of infant monkeys

Beginning in 1959, Harlow and his students began publishing their observations on the effects of partial and total social isolation. Partial isolation involved raising monkeys in bare wire cages that allowed them to see, smell, and hear other monkeys, but provided no opportunity for physical contact. Total social isolation involved rearing monkeys in isolation chambers that precluded any and all contact with other monkeys.

Harlow et al. reported that partial isolation resulted in various abnormalities such as blank staring, stereotyped repetitive circling in their cages, and self-mutilation. These monkeys were then observed in various settings. For the study, some of the monkeys were kept in solitary isolation for 15 years. [19]

In the total isolation experiments, baby monkeys would be left alone for three, six, 12, or 24 [20] [21] months of "total social deprivation". The experiments produced monkeys that were severely psychologically disturbed. Harlow wrote:

No monkey has died during isolation yet. When initially removed from total social isolation, however, they usually go into a state of depression, characterized by ... autistic self-clutching and rocking. One of six monkeys isolated for 3 months refused to eat after release and died 5 days later. The autopsy report attributed death to emotional anorexia.

... The effects of 6 months of total social isolation were so devastating and debilitating that we had to get the experiment rolling, but we soon assumed initially that 12 months of isolation would not produce any additional decrement. This assumption proved to be false; 12 months of isolation almost obliterated the animals socially ... [1]

Harlow tried to reintegrate the monkeys who had been isolated for six months by placing them with monkeys who had been raised normally. [10] [22] The rehabilitation attempts met with limited success. Harlow wrote that total social isolation for the first six months of life produced "severe deficits in virtually every aspect of social behavior". [23] Isolates exposed to monkeys the same age who were reared normally "achieved only limited recovery of simple social responses". [23] Some monkey mothers reared in isolation exhibited "acceptable maternal behavior when forced to accept infant contact over a period of months, but showed no further recovery". [23] Isolates given to surrogate mothers developed "crude interactive patterns among themselves". [23] Opposed to this, when six-month isolates were exposed to younger, three-month-old monkeys, they achieved "essentially complete social recovery for all situations tested". [24] [25] The findings were confirmed by other researchers, who found no difference between peer-therapy recipients and mother-reared infants, but found that artificial surrogates had very little effect. [26]

Since Harlow's pioneering work on touch research in development, recent work in rats has found evidence that touch during infancy resulted in a decrease in corticosteroid, a steroid hormone involved in stress, and an increase in glucocorticoid receptors in many regions of the brain. [27] Schanberg and Field found that even short-term interruption of mother–pup interaction in rats markedly affected several biochemical processes in the developing pup: a reduction in ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity, a sensitive index of cell growth and differentiation; a reduction in growth hormone release (in all body organs, including the heart and liver, and throughout the brain, including the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem); an increase in corticosterone secretion; and suppressed tissue ODC responsivity to administered growth hormone. [28] Additionally, it was found that animals who are touch-deprived have weakened immune systems. Investigators have measured a direct, positive relationship between the amount of contact and grooming an infant monkey receives during its first six months of life, and its ability to produce antibody titer (IgG and IgM) in response to an antibody challenge (tetanus) at a little over one year of age. [29] Trying to identify a mechanism for the "immunology of touch", some investigators point to modulations of arousal and associated CNS-hormonal activity. Touch deprivation may cause stress-induced activation of the pituitary–adrenal system, which, in turn, leads to increased plasma cortisol and adrenocorticotropic hormone. Likewise, researchers suggest, regular and "natural" stimulation of the skin may moderate these pituitary–adrenal responses in a positive and healthful way. [30]

Pit of despair

Harlow was well known for refusing to use conventional terminology, instead choosing deliberately outrageous terms for the experimental apparatus he devised. This came from an early conflict with the conventional psychological establishment in which Harlow used the term "love" in place of the popular and archaically correct term, "attachment". Such terms and respective devices included a forced-mating device he called the "rape rack", tormenting surrogate-mother devices he called "Iron maidens", and an isolation chamber he called the "pit of despair", developed by him and a graduate student, Stephen Suomi.

In the last of these devices, alternatively called the "well of despair", baby monkeys were left alone in darkness for up to one year from birth, or repetitively separated from their peers and isolated in the chamber. These procedures quickly produced monkeys that were severely psychologically disturbed, and used as models of human depression. [31]

Harlow tried to rehabilitate monkeys that had been subjected to varying degrees of isolation using various forms of therapy. "In our study of psychopathology, we began as sadists trying to produce abnormality. Today, we are psychiatrists trying to achieve normality and equanimity." [32] (p458)


Many of Harlow's experiments are now considered unethical—in their nature as well as Harlow's descriptions of them—and they both contributed to heightened awareness of the treatment of laboratory animals, and helped propel the creation of today's ethics regulations. The monkeys in the experiment were deprived of maternal affection, potentially leading to what humans refer to as "panic disorders". [33] University of Washington professor Gene Sackett, one of Harlow's doctoral students, stated that Harlow's experiments provided the impetus for the animal liberation movement in the U.S. [2]

William Mason, another one of Harlow's students who continued conducting deprivation experiments after leaving Wisconsin, [34] has said that Harlow "kept this going to the point where it was clear to many people that the work was really violating ordinary sensibilities, that anybody with respect for life or people would find this offensive. It's as if he sat down and said, 'I'm only going to be around another ten years. What I'd like to do, then, is leave a great big mess behind.' If that was his aim, he did a perfect job." [35]

Stephen Suomi, a former Harlow student who now conducts maternal deprivation experiments on monkeys at the National Institutes of Health, has been criticized by PETA and members of the U.S. Congress. [36] [37]

Yet another of Harlow's students, Leonard Rosenblum, also went on to conduct maternal deprivation experiments with bonnet and pigtail macaque monkeys, and other research, involving exposing monkeys to drug–maternal-deprivation combinations in an attempt to "model" human panic disorder. Rosenblum's research, and his justifications for it, have also been criticized. [33]

Theatrical portrayal

A theatrical play, The Harry Harlow Project, based on the life and work of Harlow, has been produced in Victoria and performed nationally in Australia. [38]


1905Born October 31 in Fairfield, Iowa Son of Alonzo and Mabel (Rock) Israel
1930–44Staff, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Married Clara Mears
1939–40Carnegie Fellow of Anthropology at Columbia University
1944–74George Cary Comstock Research Professor of Psychology
1946Divorced Clara Mears
1948Married Margaret Kuenne
1947–48President, Midwestern Psychological Association
1950–51President of Division of Experimental Psychology, American Psychological Association
1950–52Head of Human Resources Research Branch, Department of the Army
1953–55Head of Division of Anthropology and Psychology, National Research Council
1956 Howard Crosby Warren Medal for outstanding contributions to the field of experimental psychology
1956–74Director of Primate Lab, University of Wisconsin
1958–59President, American Psychological Association
1959–65 Sigma Xi National Lecturer
1960Distinguished Psychologist Award, American Psychological Association
Messenger Lecturer at Cornell University
1961–71Director of Regional Primate Research Center
1964–65President of Division of Comparative & Physiological Psychology, American Psychological Association
1967 National Medal of Science
1970Death of his spouse, Margaret
1971Harris Lecturer at Northwestern University
Remarried Clara Mears
1972Martin Rehfuss Lecturer at Jefferson Medical College
Gold Medal from American Psychological Foundation
Annual Award from Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality
1974 University of Arizona (Tucson) Honorary Research Professor of Psychology
1975Von Gieson Award from New York State Psychiatric Institute
1976International Award from Kittay Scientific Foundation
1981Died December 6

Early papers

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Dario Maestripieri is an Italian behavioral biologist who is known for his research and writings about biological aspects of behavior in nonhuman primates and humans. He is currently a Professor of Comparative Human Development, Evolutionary Biology, and Neurobiology at The University of Chicago.

Developmental homeostasis is a process in which animals develop more or less normally, despite defective genes and deficient environments. It is an organisms ability to overcome certain circumstances in order to develop normally. This can be either a physical or mental circumstance that interferes with either a physical or mental trait. Many species have a specific norm, where those who fit that norm prosper while those who don't are killed or find it difficult to thrive. It is important that the animal be able to interact with the other group members effectively. Animals must learn their species' norms early to live a normal, successful life for that species.


A gecker is a vocalization most often associated with baby primates. It is defined as a loud and distinct vocalization, which consists of a broken staccato noise. In 1965, Irven DeVore of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences described geckering as a "single sharp yak sound", which may be repeated. It has also been characterized as "cackling." It is common in to all types of macaques., geckering is also associated with fearful jackals and mongooses. Patas monkeys have also been observed to gecker. In macaques, bickering is associated with spastic jerking of the body. Geckers are also commonly displayed in combination with grimaces.


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