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Perhaps the most consequential animal experiment ever was maverick psychologist Harry Harlow's demonstration that frightened infant monkeys always fled to a cloth-covered (softer, warmer) wire "mother" even if they had always been fed from an uncovered one. Supported by further experiments, including one in which infants deprived of any mother surrogate developed symptoms like those of severe autism in humans, Harlow maintained he had proved the necessity of love to normal psychosocial development. This was a body blow to then-dominant behaviorist and psychoanalytic notions that maternal affection was negligible and might have antisocial effects. Aided by artist Meconis' somewhat raw, alternative-comics realism, Ottaviani communicates the experiments' procedures and significance while bringing Harlow to life sympathetically, despite his chain-smoking and workaholism. Harlow tells his story to a janitor who rouses him the night before a TV crew will shoot the program that made his work famous. Another worthwhile, though far more modest, real-science comic from the writer ofFallout (2001), on the Manhattan Project, and Suspended in Language (2004), about Niels Bohr. Ray Olson
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