What Happened To Little Albert Analysis

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In Ben Harris’ article, “What Happened to Little Albert?”, Harris explains of how John B. Watson’s famous classic conditioning experiment involving the infant Albert B. had different details than what was referenced and recorded and how the misinformation caused mistakes in other future psychologists’ research. After 60 years if Watson and his graduate student, Rosalie Rayner’s publication of the their trials with little Albert, many undergraduate textbooks that pertain to abnormal, developmental and specialized books consisting of behavior therapy and psychopathology cite Albert’s conditioning to others experimental models (classic conditioning, psychopathology). However, much of Watson and Rayner’s research with Albert is greatly distorted …show more content…
Due to the different conditions, Albert only showed a mild reaction to the animals; Watson “refreshed” the fear reaction with the noise, which did cause Albert to become scared due to the noise making the dog bark at him. To test and answer the final question, Watson and Rayner tested the child after 31 days of not experiencing any trials. In the test, Albert showed fear with the mask, rat, dog, rabbit and sealskin coat. After the trials, Albert’s mother removed him from the experiment and …show more content…
For example, the stimuli used to alert Albert’s fear response including a man’s beard, a pup, fur, a white furry glove, etc. Also, a pleasant ending was added where Watson reconditioned Albert fear after the trials. Suggestions behind authors’ errors of Watson’s experiment is that to show the methods in a favorable light to undergraduates. Another specific reason is that Watson deleted important components of the study (conditioning of Albert to the dog, rabbit and rat). If the details were mentioned, Albert’s responses could have been mistaken for a generalization effect. Unfortunately, Watson’s work has been cited by behaviorists for their own study and use, even if the details were altered and misinterpreted. For example, Joseph Wolpe, who created the anxiety conditioned model for phobias cited Albert’s fear reactions to state “it is quite possible for one experience to induce a phobia" (p. 146).” (Harris p. 4) Also, many behaviorists experienced failure to replicate Watson’s work due to the Albert study including H.E. Jones (1930) with his galvanic skin response conditioning or Valentine (1930) with failing to use extensive naturalistic observation. Due to the inaccuracies of Watson’s experiment in publications, those learning and experimenting in the psychology experienced false

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