The ‘Pit of Despair’ experiment.

“Social beings can be destroyed by destroying their social ties.”

In 1971, psychologist Harry Harlow decided to conduct an experiment on monkeys to study clinical depression.

For eight months, the scientist placed baby monkeys in a cage that resembled a pit. The only thing the subjects could see from the outside were the hands of the experimenter, who served them food and changed their bedding.

At first the monkeys tried to get out of the cage, but then they fell into a state of apathy. Then came depression, from which the animals could not get out. After the experiment was over, attempts to socialize the monkeys failed.

The macaques refused to interact with other relatives and became completely withdrawn. Their actions were slow and uncertain, and some of them even went mad.

The experiment showed that primates (and humans) need the company of their relatives for normal development.

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