"John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner carried one of the most influential psychology studies out in 1920. Psychologists and intro psychology students alike know the “Little Albert” study. The reason it is such a landmark study is because Watson was able to show that emotional responses could be conditioned, or learned."
"Albert B. was born to a woman who was a wet nurse in the Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children. Although raised in the hospital environment, Albert developed normally and was very stable.
When Albert was about eight months old, Watson wanted to determine if a loud sound would cause a fear response in the child.
He was placed in a room and an experimenter stood behind him and made a loud noise by striking a hammer on a steel bar.
The first time this was done, Albert startled and raised his hands up.
The second time, he began to tremble, and on the third time he was crying and having a fit."
At that point, Watson began to introduce a white animal (such as a rabbit) and then make the loud noise. Eventually, Little Albert began to associate white things with loud noises, thus creating a crippling fear of white objects.
Watson also made Albert afraid of tables, blocks and certain rooms.
"Watson concluded that phobias were most likely conditioned responses. He stated that phobias were probably either a fear of the original stimulus or that they had been transferred to other stimuli, as the person grew older. Watson believed, like Freud, that early childhood experiences influenced the adult personality. Watson differed from Freud in that he had behavioral evidence that learned responses in childhood transferred across stimuli and environments, carrying over a period of time, whereas Freud focused more on instincts had no evidence for his theory.
Watson’s work still lives on today. The effects of his research can especially be noticed in contemporary behavior therapy."
So basically, they scared an infant for science. Yayyy