Adult Fears Are Conditioned Throughout Early Life ( Schultz & Schultz )

776 Words Nov 3rd, 2015 4 Pages
John Watson used an experiment with an eight month old baby named Albert to conclude that adult fears are conditioned in early life (Schultz & Schultz, 2011). According to Classics in the History of Psychology (n.d.), the experiment began with a perfectly stable infant. The first step in the experiment was a series of emotional tests. The infant was shown a white rat, a rabbit, a dog, and a monkey in various forms. The findings were recorded. Albert showed no fear during these baseline tests. They then tested and discovered that a sudden, loud sound would cause a negative reaction in Albert. Using this information they began the act of conditioning Albert to be scared of the white rat that he had previously shown no fear of. When presenting the rat to Albert, the loud sound was made. This caused Albert to equate the rat with the sound. The rat was no longer a neutral stimulus, but now a conditioned stimulus. Albert grew to fear the rat not because of the rat itself, but because of the startling noise he associated with the rat. After a few days they brought Albert back into the same room. He played with blocks in the room, showing he was not scared of the room by association. However, as soon as the rat was presented, he again showed fear. The delay in time between these events proved that the reaction was now ingrained. Observing the use of other stimuli with fur or hair, Albert was upset by some but not all. There was some continued experimentation, but when Watson wanted…

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