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Grand Theory Paper: Harry Harlow

1741 words - 7 pages

Harry Israel—he would not have his well-known surname until later on—was born on of all days—considering his personality—on Halloween evening, October 31st, 1905, at his home in Fairfield, Iowa. He was of course fascinated with science and experimenting even at a young age—he owned a child’s porcelain potty when he was a child and he would experiment with dropping a large stone to see what would happen. Harry would recount in his later years that he hit “rock bottom”—he was a man who knew no bounds in effortless puns and unorthodox humor, especially given his astounding-unorthodox theories that went totally against the then current dogma of the theory known as behaviorism (Blum 9).

Harry Harlow’s parents, Alonzo Harlow Israel and Mable Rock Israel were good parents who wanted a better future for their kids. Alonzo Harlow, Harlow was just like him in personality, was a misfit—(as some described him to be). Alonzo Harlow wanted to be a doctor; however, his goals were set aside as he met his true love, Mable Israel. Harlow most certainly followed his dads’ high ambitions by acquiring a PhD in Psychology; indeed, he acquired some of his phenotype from his dad—namely, high ambition. Harries life was one that was filled with poverty, as his parents could not afford much of anything due to the fact that they did not complete college and had meager jobs. However, they instilled in their kids a sense of achieving a higher standard for themselves—thus, self-actualization was what they wanted their kids to achieve. Harry learned affection through his parents—they were loving and caring parents whom, even though they did not have a lot of money, would provide for their kids emotionally. However, Harries brother, Delmer, would fall ill due to a disease called Pott’s disease (a disease of the spine); and so, Harries parents had to take care of Delmer most of the time, and in the process, Harry was unintentionally set aside due to Delmer’s illness—this may have caused some of his later-life psychopathology—i.e., alcoholism and depression. Therefore, due to Delmer’s illness, Harlow’s family had to move to New Mexico, however, they were close to being a family as they ever had ever been (Blum 14).
Harlow and Delmer were taught to think for themselves and to never conform to any standard that was not their own—which is not surprising, as Harlow would reject the then current-popular theory of the year, behaviorism. Harry loved the humanities—subjects such as art and English would be his forte, however, once he arrived to Stanford University, he realized that he was not well suited for the humanities, as he got dismal grades on those subjects. Consequently, he decided to go into psychology because he felt that he it would be a better fit for him; thus, he set out to conquer and succeed in Stanford’s psychology department. His main mentors in psychology were Calvin Stone—(an animal behaviorist), Walter Milles—(a vision expert who designed night-vision goggles...

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