Problems Associated with Social Isolation and Maltreatment
Social environment, then. is a crucial part of an individual’s socialization. Even nonhuman primates such as monkeys and chimpanzees need social contact with others of their species in order to develop properly. As we will see, appropriate social contact is even II’ ore important for human Isolation and Nonhuman Primates Researchers have attempted to demonstrate the effects of social isolation on nonhuman primates raised without contact with oth ers of their own species. In a series of laboratory experiments. the psychologists Harry and Margaret Harlow (1962. 1977) took infant rhesus monkeys from their mothers and isolated them in separate: cages. Each cage contained two nonliving “mother substitutes” made of wire. one with a feeding bottle attached and the other covered with soft terry cloth but without a boule. The infant monkeys instinctively clung to the cloth “mother” and would not abandon it until hunger drove them to the bottle attached to the wire “mother.” As soon as they were full. they went back to the cloth “mother” seeking warmth. affection. and physical
The Harlows’ experiments show tbe detrimental effects of isolation on nonhuman primates. When the young monkeys were: later introduced to other members of their species. they cringed in the corner. Having been deprived of social contact with other monkeys during their first six months of life, they never learned how to relate to other monkeys or 10 become well adjusted adults-they were fearful of or hostile toward other monkeys (Harlow and Harlow, 1962, 1977). Because humans rely heavily on social learning than do monkeys, the’ process of socialization is even more important for us.