Infant Separation in Monkeys: Studies on Social Figures Other Than the Mother

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Nearly twenty years ago, it was first reported that maternal separation in infant monkeys produced effects that bore a strong resemblance to those reported following early loss of the mother in human infants (Seay, Hansen, and Harlow, 1962; Jensen and Tolman, 1962). These findings stimulated a large and continuing research effort into the effects of maternal separation in nonhuman primates (see Mineka and Suomi, 1978 for a review). In most studies, investigators have focused exclusively on the two animals in question: The infant and the mother. However, we feel that much useful information can be gleaned from separation studies in which responses by or to a social figure other than the infant or mother are examined. In each of the three sections of this chapter, we will consider a separate class of such studies, and what each can tell us about the infant monkey’s relationship with its mother and other animals. These three classes of studies are: 1) those in which the infant has access to another adult female or “aunt” during the separation period; 2) those in which the infant is separated from an artificial maternal substitute (surrogate) upon which it has been reared; and 3) those in which the response of other animals to mother-infant separation is assessed.



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