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Integr Psychol Behav Sci. 2008 Dec;42(4):370-88. doi: 10.1007/s12124-008-9079-2. Epub 2008 Sep 3.

"When strangers meet": John Bowlby and Harry Harlow on attachment behavior.

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  • 1Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9555, NL-2300RB, Leiden, The Netherlands,


From 1957 through the mid-1970s, John Bowlby, one of the founders of attachment theory, was in close personal and scientific contact with Harry Harlow. In constructing his new theory on the nature of the bond between children and their caregivers, Bowlby profited highly from Harlow's experimental work with rhesus monkeys. Harlow in his turn was influenced and inspired by Bowlby's new thinking. On the basis of the correspondence between Harlow and Bowlby, their mutual participation in scientific meetings, archival materials, and an analysis of their scholarly writings, both the personal relationship between John Bowlby and Harry Harlow and the cross-fertilization of their work are described.

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