[BERG] Harry Harlow Lecture

Liz Williamson e.a.williamson at stir.ac.uk
Thu Nov 3 11:46:54 GMT 2011

Dear BERGers,

I was astonished and dismayed to learn that someone in our group would dedicate anything to Harry Harlow, and I will not be attending these lectures.

To quote Robert Sapolsky in Scientific American:

“These [Harlow’s] were brutal studies, animals shattered by isolation. They made Harlow a pariah in many circles. Useful science was produced (though not nearly enough to justify the extent of what was done, in my opinion). Animals suffered unspeakably.

“He [Harlow] did ethically troubling work without seeming ethically troubled. He responded to feminist and animal-rights critiques with caustic hostility, dinosaurish misogyny and flaunted indifference to his animals. His writing was savage and crude: I recall being moved to tears and outrage by those papers as a student. (An example: females who were socially isolated as infants were inept at mating. How to get them pregnant, to study their subsequent maternal behavior? Harlow wrote, proudly, of his 'rape rack.')”


Liz Williamson

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christine Caldwell <c.a.caldwell at stir.ac.uk<x-msg://5/c.a.caldwell@stir.ac.uk>>
Date: 27 October 2011 08:28
Subject: [BERG] FW: Harry Harlow Lecture
To: berg Mailing List <berg at lists.stir.ac.uk<x-msg://5/berg@lists.stir.ac.uk>>

Hi all,

Please see the email below from Alex Weiss about a lecture being held in Edinburgh on Monday.


Hi everybody,

As part of the seminar series we have instituted a series of lectures dedicated
to the memory of Harry Harlow. Each seminar in this series will be held on the
Monday closest to his birthday (31 October) every year.

Harry Harlow was most famous for his "mother love" experiments which were
inspired by the work of John Bowlby and others. He found that the need for
'contact comfort' was key to the development of rhesus macaques and likely
humans. His work was not without controversy, but he contributed hugely to
research on attachment, animal behavior, learning, and several other areas
throughout his lifetime. These lectures will explore important themes from this
work, and will also include lectures on the ethics of animal research and animal

The seminar will take place at the 7 George Square, The University of Edinburgh
at 5:15 and will be followed by a wine reception. The speaker will be
Bonaventura Majolo of Lincoln University.

The title of the talk is "Managing social relationships in wild macaques" and
should be of interest to those studying evolutionary psychology, social
psychology, and animal behavior.

Abstract: Nonhuman primates seem capable of establishing and maintaining long-
lasting social relationship with their group companions that resemble human
friendships. Recent studies on various primate species indicate that such
friendly relationships can be beneficial to individual fitness: animals having
stronger social bonds with their group companions have higher reproductive
success. Here I will discuss two aspects of social relationships namely, the
role of reciprocity and conflict resolution. Reciprocity is considered a key
feature of high quality social relationships in both humans and other species.
However, the reciprocal exchange of altruistic acts often occurrs at such low
rates so as to undermine its importance for friendship. Moreover, the asymmetric
nature of social relationships is frequently underestimated. With respect to
conflict resolution, I will discuss the importance of relationship quality for
the occurrence of reconciliation and how the post-conflict period may represent
an excellent opportunity to study the behavioural consequences of social

Should anybody be interested in attending dinner with the speaker, please
contact me as soon as possible.



The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.

The Sunday Times Scottish University of the Year 2009/2010
The University of Stirling is a charity registered in Scotland, 
 number SC 011159.

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