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A Piece of My Mind
June 3, 1998

God Save the Child

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(21):1677. doi:10.1001/jama.279.21.1677

On 60 Minutes, or maybe it was Dateline or 20/20, I watched a story about research that had been done on the effects of parental deprivation. It was a sad feature with wide-eyed baby chimpanzees that clung to rag-doll "mothers" and hard-metal maternal scarecrows as various stressors were introduced into their cages by semisadistic researchers. In one, a chimp with no mother, or mother equivalent, lay huddled in the corner rocking and banging its head against the bars. The narrator drew inferences to early development in humans. He talked about orphans in Romania and failure to thrive. I thought about Connecticut and my daily evaluations.