The Conditioning Of Fear By John B. Watson

915 Words Jul 29th, 2015 4 Pages
The Conditioning of Fear
John B. Watson was an American psychologist who established behaviorism. He assumed that psychology should study only objective behavior due to the conscience or psyche aspect being difficult to measure. Watson stated that psychology’s “theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior” (Clavijo 379). Watson believed that “conditioning procedure” would contribute to analyzing the “conscious” (Hall 186). In other words, behavior is the relationship between thoughts and physical responses. Watson developed an experiment to demonstrate that fears could be conditioned through a process involving classical conditioning. He was doing his research on conditioning or instilling fear in humans. The goal of his experiment was to predict and control behavior.
Watson began conducting research with children at John Hopkins Hospital and got the opportunity to study infant behavior and responses. To demonstrate that behaviorism could be measurable, Watson decided to see if fear could be conditioned. In 1920, Watson began his most famous experiment, known as the "Little Albert" experiment. Albert was 11 months old and selected because of his temperament and “lack of fear” for most things (Green). He was described as a stable infant who rarely displayed fear of anything. He was not afraid of animals, including the white laboratory rat. He was, however, afraid of loud noises. Watson decided to utilize his natural fear of loud noises in his experiment. He…
Open Document