The Little Albert Experiment

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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. To begin the experiment, Watson and his team started off by questioning if a loud noise would cause a fear reaction. The sound of choice for this part would be a hammer on a suspended steel bar. The first strike of the bar startled the
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