The Little Albert experiment was a controlled experiment showing empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans. The study also provides an example of ...

The Little Albert experiment was a famous psychology experiment conducted by behaviorist John B. Watson. Discover what happened to the boy in the study.

Commonly referred to as "The Case of Little Albert " this psychology classic attempted to show how fear could be induced in an infant through classical conditioning.

The Little Albert experiment was a controlled experiment showing empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans. The study also provides an example of ...

The Little Albert experiment was a famous psychology experiment conducted by behaviorist John B. Watson. Discover what happened to the boy in the study.

Commonly referred to as "The Case of Little Albert " this psychology classic attempted to show how fear could be induced in an infant through classical conditioning.

In the famous Little Albert experiment, a nearly 9-month-old baby is shown a white rat. The rat crawls up to the baby, on him, and around him. The baby seems interested in the rat and unafraid. Later, researchers again produce the rat and place it next to the baby, but this time the rat’s presence is accompanied by a loud, startling clang — a sound the baby clearly doesn’t like. This is repeated multiple times until the baby starts to cry at the mere appearance of the rat, loud clang or no. The fear extends to other furry things like a dog and a monkey, animals that previously provoked only mild interest. The researchers have taught Little Albert to be afraid.

Now comes another twist–one that, if accurate, would change how the Little Albert experiment is viewed and would cast a darker shadow over the career of the researcher who carried it out.

A paper published this month in the journal  History of Psychology makes the case that Little Albert was not, as Watson insisted, “healthy” and “normal.” He was probably neurologically impaired. If the baby indeed had a severe cognitive deficit, then his reactions to the white rat or the dog or the monkey may not have been typical–certainly reaching universal conclusions about human nature based on his reactions wouldn’t make sense. The entire experiment, then, would be a case of a researcher terrifying a sick baby for no valid scientific reason (not that using a healthy baby would have been ethically hunkydory).

The Little Albert experiment was a controlled experiment showing empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans. The study also provides an example of ...

The Little Albert experiment was a famous psychology experiment conducted by behaviorist John B. Watson. Discover what happened to the boy in the study.

Commonly referred to as "The Case of Little Albert " this psychology classic attempted to show how fear could be induced in an infant through classical conditioning.

In the famous Little Albert experiment, a nearly 9-month-old baby is shown a white rat. The rat crawls up to the baby, on him, and around him. The baby seems interested in the rat and unafraid. Later, researchers again produce the rat and place it next to the baby, but this time the rat’s presence is accompanied by a loud, startling clang — a sound the baby clearly doesn’t like. This is repeated multiple times until the baby starts to cry at the mere appearance of the rat, loud clang or no. The fear extends to other furry things like a dog and a monkey, animals that previously provoked only mild interest. The researchers have taught Little Albert to be afraid.

Now comes another twist–one that, if accurate, would change how the Little Albert experiment is viewed and would cast a darker shadow over the career of the researcher who carried it out.

A paper published this month in the journal  History of Psychology makes the case that Little Albert was not, as Watson insisted, “healthy” and “normal.” He was probably neurologically impaired. If the baby indeed had a severe cognitive deficit, then his reactions to the white rat or the dog or the monkey may not have been typical–certainly reaching universal conclusions about human nature based on his reactions wouldn’t make sense. The entire experiment, then, would be a case of a researcher terrifying a sick baby for no valid scientific reason (not that using a healthy baby would have been ethically hunkydory).

This episode of the podcast – first published in Jan of 2010 – summarized the article which details the efforts of researchers to determine the identity of the so-called “Little Albert”:

Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson’s Infant Laboratory. American Psychologist, 64, 605-614.

Recent research conducted by Digdon, Powell and Harris cast doubt on the conclusions of Beck et. al and instead point to a boy named William Albert Barger as the boy known as Little Albert.


bookmarkyourlink.info
51jMe27bSBL