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The American Dream: John B. Watson

Decent Essays
The American Dream Trying to figure out why humans do what they do has been around as long as humans themselves. Psychology is simply the study of human actions and reactions. John B. Watson made great strides in psychology but was a subpar person. John Broadus Watson was born to Pickens and Emma Watson in 1878. The family was from Greenville, South Carolina.Pickens drank and cheated on his wife, which caused Pickens to leave the family in 1891. GoodTherapy’s article on John Watson says, “He had a troubled adolescence, getting arrested for fighting and disorderly behavior twice, and performed poorly academically”(GoodTherapy). John received his masters degree at the age of 21 from Furman University, in South Carolina. When John went to University…show more content…
Later in 1920, Watson’s theory was accepted and became the dominant psychology system, along with its counterpart neobehaviorism, for four decades. Watson believed that humans are formed by their environment and not their family or their sexual desire. Watson’s approach to psychology was purely scientific, which seemed to give reason to his actions. R. Eric Landrum said, “Watson’s beliefs directly fed into the great American dream of the 19290’s(freedom, liberty, and hope)” (Landrum). The American dream was to have a family but Watson barely had a true…show more content…
He used his knowledge of human behavior to succeed in this field. Emily Watson said this about his motive for advertising, “He wanted to use his scientific theories of behaviorism and the emotions of fear, rage, and love to improve the effects of advertising on the “animal” or what we know as consumers” (Watson). Behaviorism is still used in ads today. The techniques are used to encourage consumers to buy products.
In 1928, Watson published his child development book, Care of Infant and Child. Watson believed children should not be coddled or receive excessive comfort. He said children would be needy and dependent as adults. GoodTherapy said, “Watson’s behaviorism has had a long-lasting impact on the nature-versus-nurture debate, and his work illuminated the strong role early experiences play in shaping personality”(GoodTherapy). His wife then publish an article called “I am a Mother of Behaviorist Sons” , in which she went against Watson’s teaching. Later his granddaughter, Mariette Hartley, famous actress, argued that she developed psychological problems as a result of being raised according to behaviorist principles.
John Watson’s beliefs and teachings are widely used and rejected in many fields of study, business, and life. Though he was a great experiment psychologist, his personality was lacking. Watson’s scientific outlook on human behavior lead to his failed
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