September 15, 2006

Unconditional Love

Can love be taught? A family uses a controversial therapy to train their son to love them. And other stories about the hard and sometimes painful work of loving other people.

Harry Harlow, from the Prologue.


Hard as it is to believe, during the early twentieth century, a whole school of mental health professionals decided that unconditional love was a terrible thing to give a child. The government printed pamphlets warning mothers against the dangers of holding their kids. The head of the American Psychological Association and even a mothers' organization endorsed the position that mothers were dangerous - until psychologist Harry Harlow set out to prove them wrong, with a series of experiments with monkeys. Ira talks with Deborah Blum, author of "Love at Goon Park," a biography of Harlow. (10 minutes)

Love Is A Battlefield

Alix Spiegel tells the story of a couple, Heidi and Rick Solomon, who adopt a son who was raised in terrible circumstances in a Romanian orphanage, unable to feel attachments to anyone. Alix is the co-host of NPR’s Invisiblilia, which is back with its fifth season. (27 minutes)