what were they thinking?

We asked ourselves this question a lot. We had to keep reminding ourselves it was a different time. In the 1960s, family values looked like kids bouncing around the back of the station wagon without seatbelts while mom and dad filled the car with cigarette smoke. Just as dangerous as what we didn’t yet know was the seduction of science. Moms who wanted to do right by their infants fed them formula. And in the cutting-edge home economics department of Cornell University, students had their own labs (or “practice apartments”) complete with “practice babies” secured from orphanages. After a year of being “nurtured” by a revolving group of students applying the latest scientific methods of childrearing, the babies were released for adoption. (Does this sound familiar?) The program was discontinued in the late 1960s when “research in child development pointed to the need for a primary bond with a single caregiver.” Well, duh. Any of the people in the chimp cross-fostering experiment could have told you that.

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