My “Hugs Experiment”

I remember watching a program about an experiment done on monkeys to test the basic need for physical contact.

The experiment was simple: there was group of baby monkeys…there were bottles filled with milk attached to wire cages, and then there were fake, life-sized furry mama monkeys with no milk.

The babies could not “connect” with the wire cages, and even though food was available, they chose not to eat.  They were, however, constantly sitting next to or on the fake mamas.  The contact provided them with something more important than even food…

I also remember seeing a disturbing report on orphans in Russian institutions who don’t get any physical contact.  The orphans, even though they were getting the proper nutrition, were dying due to lack of physical human contact.

That said, I have decided to do an experiment on my two teen daughters.  Anyone who has teens knows that this is the age where girls “hate” their parents and mine are no exception.  But I have to admit……I have never been a great hugger.  (When they were little, there was definitely more physical contact, but I can’t really snuggle on them the same way now that they are 15 and 17.)

Could this be part of the reason that teens rebel and do things that make me cringe?

I am going to test the “physical contact” theory.  I plan to hug my daughters…not forcefully or fake, but at a time when it seems to fit….at least 3 times per day, every day for the month of January.  I will keep track of the positive and negative exchanges we have and I won’t change anything else.  I am very interested to see if just hugging them more will change the way we interact.

At the end of the month I will post the results on my “study of two”.

I may even try this on other people……watch out.

Here is one of my favorite videos….but I have to admit, if I was in a big city and saw this, I would run the other way!



Categories: happiness, health, thoughts

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. What a wonderful experiment and I can’t wait to hear your results. One regret I always have is not hugging my father when I was older. I do hug my mum a lot and I guess that’s why we’re really close 🙂 I will try it on people I don’t normally hug – you’ve inspired me!!

  2. Love this! i am trying it too!

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