As I wanted to create an object that brought back unconscious memories of childhood, I looked deeper into the work to psychologists like Harry Harlow, and his attempts to determine the cause of infant attachment to parents.
While he expected to find a link to physical need such as food, Harlow was surprised to find that the power of the comforting embrace of the mother was far more necessary to the emotional development of the monkeys than anyone had thought. The baby monkeys unconsciously use the mothers hug as a way of dealing with their environment, growing more confident and curious, and eventually relaxing into new environments happily and normally. Monkeys deprived of this resembled autistic children in their attempts to deal with new situations.
Similar results have been found in orphanages where contact with the children was discouraged.
It was the power of this touch in human and animal development that made me consider using my hand design for a baby aswell as an adult. While it does not substitute for the hugs of the mother, feel of a hand embracing them might be beneficial for helping them sleep.
- 2014. Classics in the History of Psychology — Harlow (1958). [ONLINE] Available at: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Harlow/love.htm. [Accessed 09 January 2014].
- 2014. harry harlow monkey experiment contact comfort – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=harry+harlow+monkey+experiment+contact+comfort&sm=3. [Accessed 09 January 2014].
- 2014. Harlow’s Studies on Dependency in Monkeys – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrNBEhzjg8I. [Accessed 09 January 2014].