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Little Albert and Classical Conditioning

  • Date Submitted: 04/22/2010 03:04 PM
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Little Albert and Classical Conditioning

John B Watson was one of the most notable   psychologist scientists of   the 20th century.   He wrote about applied psychology for academic journals, popular magazines and business publications. He is considered to be the founder of behaviorism.
Watson's work was based on the experiments of Ivan Pavlov, who had studied the responses of animals to conditioning. Pavlov sustained the theory that the humans and animals react to stimuli in same way. Watson enlarged Pavlov's belief by taking classical conditioning further on humans.

Watson, in the beginning of his research work, used animals for studying behavior. Later he change his interest in studying human behavior.
In 1920,   John Watson and his assistant(wife)   Rosalie Rayner conducted an experiment called "Little Albert".  

The Experiment

"Little Albert"   experiment is one of the most famous studies in psychology in which he   hypothesized that children have three basic emotional reactions: fear, rage, and love.
Watson and his partner was able to demonstrate that emotional responses could be conditioned, or learned. This was a very new concept to the world.
Baby Albert's mother was a nurse in the Harriet Lane Home for invalid children. Albert was raised in the hospital environment but he developed normally and was emotionally very stabile.
Watson stared to run some tests on little Albert when he was eight months old. First he wanted to determine if a loud sound would cause a fear response in the child.
Watson placed the child in a room with an assistant who stood behind him and made a loud noise by striking a hammer on a steel bar. This was done three times. The first time, Albert was startled and he raised his hands up. The second time, he was quivering and the third time he was scared and cried. He had become afraid of loud noise (UCS - unconditioned stimulus).
Definition: "Unconditioned stimulus (US) in classical condition is the stimulus that elicits...


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