What do monkeys tell us about attachment?

Attachment is a form of bond that creates a desire for physical closeness, security and often affection from one being to another (Custance, 2010). Humans often form a strong attachment to their primary caregiver by 7 months old and disruption to that bond can cause distress. In the same way, physical proximity and trustworthy attachment (often referred to as a secure base) can cause confidence and security between a child and their primary caregiver. This essay will evaluate the usefulness of researching attachment in non-human animals, explicitly discussing the research of Harry Harlow (1958) and Mary Ainsworth (1971,1978) cited in Custance (2010, p193-221), and will weigh up how the cost-benefit analysis between research on animals and the value of the research in better understanding attachment.

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