During the first half of the 20th century, many psychologists believed that showing affection towards children was merely a sentimental gesture that served no real purpose.
A behaviorist, John Watson, once even went so far as to warn parents, "When you are tempted to pet your child, remember that mother love is a dangerous instrument." The behaviorist movement dominated psychology and urged researchers to study only observable and measurable behaviors.
An American psychologist, Harry Harlow, however, became interested in studying a topic that was not so easy to quantify and measure: love.
In a series of controversial experiments conducted in 1960s, Harlow demonstrated the powerful effects of love. By showing the devastating effects of deprivation on young Rhesus monkeys, Harlow revealed the importance of a mother's love for healthy childhood development.
Clinical research has emphasized the importance of the early mother-child relationship in many aspects of development. Various forms of psychopathology including certain psychosomatic syndromes have been attributed to disturbances in this primary mother-child unit.
How about the animal kingdom – the following pictures are heartwarming. Imprinting is the connection that is made right after birth or hatching, whereby the newborn identifies its mother. They learn everything from their mother. Birds migrate according to the path that was shown by the mother, so it is necessary for survival. Bonding is the way animals and humans define their mother, when they are first born.