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Little Emotional Albert

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By parisming
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Reading # 10 Little Emotional Albert Watson, J. B., & Rayner, R. (1920). Conditioned emotional responses. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 3, 1-14.
In 1920 J.B. Watson and R. Rayner studied the classical conditioning of emotional responses. John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner's Little Albert study involved attempted conditioning of an infant known as Albert B. Some researchers see the work as way to explore classical conditioning as a mechanism of change in emotional behavior in young children, while other researchers view the work as a way to advance understanding in psychopathology. The study, however, must be viewed in light of the early nineteenth century methodology employed as well as the study's modest results. Perhaps as interesting as the study itself is the historical pattern created by psychologists' accounts of the work. In the years since the publication of the Little Albert study, its methods and results have been described many times. Some researchers believe that the study's importance and its theoretical offerings have been overstated in the literature.
The Little Albert study was designed to test the premises that an infant can be conditioned to fear an animal that appears at the same time as a loud sound that was previously identified to arouse fear in the infant, that the fear would generalize to other animals or inanimate objects, and that such fears would persist over a period of time. On pretesting, nine-month-old Albert was shown to display no fear when observing certain live animals as well as several inanimate objects. In contrast, he showed fear through crying and avoidance when the experimenter struck a steel bar with a hammer near him (the unconditioned stimulus in this work).
Two months after pretesting, Albert was shown a white rat, and anytime Albert touched the rat, he was exposed to the sound of the hammer hitting a steel

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