"Little Albert"

John B. Watson, “Little Albert” film (1920).

This film documents the concept of classical conditioning and the research of John B Watson and Rosalie Rayner. A baby, “little Albert,” is shown initially to be unafraid of a series of animals (a dog, a rat, a rabbit). Then in an unfilmed phase of the research, the researchers sought to use classical conditioning to create a fear response in the baby: they struck a steel bar with a hammer whenever Albert reached for the rat. After six such instances, Albert was believed to have been conditioned to a fear response to the rats. The next filmed sequence shows Albert reacting with fear to the the animals, as well as to Watson himself wearing an animal mask.

 

Associated Documents:
John B Watson and Rosalie Rayner (1920), “Conditioned emotional reactions,” /Journal of Experimental Psychology/, /3(1)/, 1-14. Available online at: http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Watson/emotion.htm
Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding Little Albert: A journey to John B. Watson’s infant laboratory. /American Psychologist, 64, 7/. pp. 605–614.
Cover Jones, M. (1924). A Laboratory Study of Fear: The Case of Peter:/ http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Jones/ /Pedagogical Seminary, 31,/ pp. 308–315.
Harris, B. (1979). Whatever Happened to Little Albert? http://www.sussex.ac.uk/psychology/documents/harris_-1979.pdf/American Psychologist, 34, 2,/ pp. 151–160.

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