John B. Watson (1878-1958), not to be confused with John H. Watson from Sherlock Holmes’ fame, left an indelible mark on the field of psychology. Prior to Watson, psychologists and philosophers theorized about internal, or mental, processes and consciousness. Myers (2013) states, “Watson urged his colleagues to discard reference to inner thoughts, feelings, and motives” (p. 268), and instead, “limit ourselves to things that can be observed…[i.e.] behavior—what the organism does or says” (Watson, as cited in Berger, 2014, p. 42). Watson’s views, along with Pavlov’s and Bechterev’s, would launch the behavioral school of psychology. The radical behaviorism Watson believed would not allow him to study or theorize about internal experiences such as emotions and their influence on thinking and behavior.
What is Watson’s Classical Conditioning? Classical Conditioning was found by Dr. Ivan Pavlov. Watson’s research was influenced by Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning Theory. Watson made a research on children’s emotions using the Classical Conditioning model. According to Watson, love, fear, and anger are the three kinds of emotions inherited by humans (Hall 1988). He believed these emotions could be learned through conditioning. He formed his hypothesis and carried out an experiment. John B. Watson’s classical condition experiment was on a child named Little Albert. This experiment was while a child was playing with a rabbit, smashing two bars to make a loud noise behind the child’s head. After hearing the loud noise the child
John B Watson Behaviourist Watson’s theory was based on the ideas of classical conditioning of Ivan Pavlov who used animals for research and believed that they could be taught anything by watching and copying others. Watson further developed the theory applying it on people’s behaviour, based on the conditioning and training of behaviour and on the belief that anyone could be taught anything as we are all born with the same abilities, disregarding feelings and emotions.
Little Albert an 11 month old boy was chosen as the participant. Watson identified that a white rat did not provoke any fear response in Albert, so it was a neutral stimulus. Little Albert was then exposed to the white rat, but every time he reached out to touch it Watson would make a loud noise. Albert would get frightened and start to cry. After repeating this several times, Albert started getting frightened just by seeing the rat. Just like the bell in Pavlov's experiment, the white rat had become a conditioned stimulus to Albert. Watson therefore concluded that even complex behaviour such as fear was a learned response.
Miriam DelToro Forty Studies that changed Psychology: Little Emotional Albert The theoretical proposition of this study is that one’s emotions can come from an external or an internal situation which creates a certain emotion for example afraidness. If this emotion is felt more than one time occurring at the same moment as something else for example seeing a spider or snake , the spider or snake will therefore will become connected with being afraid in your brain. This example is very similar to the one Watson used, which was rats he then said that us as humans were “not born to fear rats.” In fact, he said we learned this fear “through conditioning.” This led to one of Watson 's most famed experience that included the subject “Little Albert B.” It is clear the aspect of human behavior in which Watson was interested in is a person’s emotions.
The child interpreted the sound of the hammer hitting the steel bar in coincidence with the visualization of the white rat. Even in nine months the child had been programmed by repeatedly hitting the bar and visual stimulation of contact with the white rat, had now become an unconditioned stimulus response by automatically changing physical and emotional outcomes from the child (Porter, B., 2013).
Watson and Rayner aimed to investigate; ‘Can we condition fear of an animal, e.g., a white rat, by visually presenting it and simultaneously striking a steel bar?’ (B.Watson, R.Rayner, 2000). To test this method the case study was carried out in a controlled lab-based setting, with participant observation. To first eliminate any participant variables, little Albert at nine months of age was subject to a successive viewing of a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey, a dog, with masks and without hair, along with cotton wool, burning newspaper and other variables. (B.Watson, R Rayner , 1920). Manipulation was the most common reaction to these encounters (attempts to touch or engage with the stimulus presented), Watson and Rayner (1920) write ‘At no time did this infant ever show fear in any situation.’
The definition of honor is the regard with great respect. My definition of honor is to recognize those who have helped people somehow in any way, shape, or form. James was involved in the co-discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA along with Francis Crick. James Watson received a Nobel
Spearheaded by John Watson, who led the field of behaviorism, psychologists across the world began horrendous experiments for a time period they deemed themselves to be so “advanced” and “great.” Watson himself focused on children, due to them being so-called “blank slates”; but that does not mean adults were tested on. One of the most notable psychological experiments ever was the Little Albert Experiment. Watson intended to terrify the poor baby to fear anything with fur- rats, dogs, beards, so on and so forth. Today we recognize this as unethical, but back then, regulation of the psychological community was very poor. Prior to the experiments, Albert was unphased by much. When Watson showed him a laboratory rat, Albert instantly took to it. Watson, while Albert would be petting the rat, struck a steel bar with a hammer, instantly causing Albert to cry. This went on and on, until Albert was practically broken. Any sight of the rat would cause him to burst out in tears. The worst part of the experiment was that Albert was never desensitized. Up until his death 87 years later, Little Albert was terrified of anything with fur, and suffered massive anxiety. Other experiments occurred, less publicized, of course, because the experiments that took place were some of the worst humanity could bring
The study that John Watson is best known for was that of Little Albert. In this study, Watson and his assistant placed an infant, baby Albert, in a room along with a white rat. At first, Albert attempted to reach out toward the rat as it moved around him however soon after Watson slammed together two steel pipes creating a noise loud enough to scare Albert. After this initial scare, the pipes were hit together each time Albert would reach for the rat eventually resulting in his complete fear of the rat and anything that resembled it (Watson & Rayner, 1920). It was in this study that Watson was using a strategy of conditioning that would pair Albert with an unconditioned stimulus and then conditioning him to become fearful of this stimulus. Do to his research in the field, Watson became known as the founder of behaviorism.
Pavlov called this process Classical Conditioning. Another behavioural psychologist, Watson (1915) was influenced by Pavlov’s dogs’ (1902). Watson suggested that if reflexes can be conditioned in dogs, then they can be conditioned in human behaviour too (Gross 2010). Watson used Pavlov’s idea of classical conditioning to influence his experiment with Little Albert, where Watson successfully conditioned fear into an 8-month-old boy using a range of different stimuli.
Behaviourists regard behaviour has a response and stimulus which is determined by the environment one lives in. With this reductionist idea, it is therefore easy for behaviourists to control experiments. Behaviourists carry out experiments with control over variables, precise measurements objectivity and observability, resulting in very reliable results. However, some critics may argue that behaviour is studied under artificial conditions which do not match real life environments, resulting in low ecological validity. Furthermore, another strength of this approach is that all three of its theories, classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning theory have succeeded when applied to its studies. For instance, classical conditioning is when new behaviours maybe acquired through association between an environmental stimulus and a neutral stimulus. An example of this is Watson’s little Albert experiment (1920) where the neutral stimulus (white rat) and
Classical Conditioning. Due to Pavlov’s success, Watson was inclined to do his own experimentation. His most famous, yet controversial, being on “Little Albert.” “Albert” was a child conditioned by Watson to be afraid of rats. Essentially, Watson would create a loud, banging noise. This would eventually lead to the fear of not just rats, but all fuzzy animals (John Watson - Little Albert, 2008).
The Little Albert experiment has become a famous case study that has been discussed by a plethora of professionals in the psychology industry. In 1920, behaviorist John Watson and his assistant Rosalie Rayner began to conduct the first experiment that had been done with a child. Watson and Rayner chose Albert because they thought he was stable; he was accustomed to a hospital environment due to his mother’s career as a wet nurse, he was healthy and showed little emotion. Stability played a major factor in choosing Albert for this case study because Watson wanted to ensure that they would do as little harm as possible with the experiment. The conditioning of Albert began with a series of emotional tests that became part of a routine in which Watson and Rayner were “determining whether fear reactions could be called out by other stimuli than sharp noises and the sudden removal of support” (-----). Watson’s method of choice for this experiment was using principles of classic conditioning to create a stimulus in children that would result in fear. Since Watson wanted to condition Albert, he used a variety of objects that would otherwise not scare him. These objects included white rat, dog, blocks, rabbit, fur coat, wool and a Santa Claus mask.
For the second stage, a white rat was used as Watson’s CS, the CS must be a neutral stimulus that initially has no effect on the UR. Little Albert showed no phobia towards the rat before conditioning occurred. By pairing the US with the CS, the infant learned to associate the loud noise of the hammer and metal bar with the white rat. After strengthening the association between the US and the CS by repetition, Little Albert eventually became fearful and upset when only presented with the once neutral stimulus, the white rat. This response was the CR which marked the completion of step three. Little Albert was now afraid of the white rat because it triggered his fear of the loud noise. Classical conditioning can be used to prove many forms of behavior between subjects when looking at the the right unconditioned/ conditioned stimuli and unconditioned/ conditioned responses. The theory of classical conditioning can be used to explain the development of distrust and trust issues in the relationships between people.