Harlow, Harry

Harlow, Harry (Frederick)

(1905–81) ethologist, primate researcher; born in Fairfield, Iowa. Educated at Stanford University, he taught at Wisconsin University (1930–74) and directed its Regional Primate Center (1961–71). His experiments in animal behavior led to his discovery of the process whereby an animal "learns to learn," which provides a valid index to its intelligence. His work with infant monkeys and their surrogate mothers (terrycloth dummies) demonstrated the crucial importance of bonding between primate mothers and infants for emotional health and growth. Highly acclaimed at the time of his original work (early 1960s), these experiments would later become controversial both for some of their procedures as well as conclusions.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.