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Little albert case study watson and rayner

By Saul McLeodupdated 2018 Classical conditioning theory involves learning a new behavior via the process of association. In simple terms two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response in a person or animal. Everything from speech to emotional responses was simply patterns of stimulus and response.

Watson denied completely the existence of the mind or consciousness. Watson believed that all individual differences in behavior were due to different experiences of learning. Classical Conditioning Examples There are three stages of classical conditioning. At each stage the stimuli and responses are given special scientific terms: In this respect, no new behavior has been learned yet.

This stage also involves another stimulus which has no effect on a person and is called the neutral stimulus NS. The NS could be a person, object, place, etc.

  • Albert described as "on the whole stolid and unemotional" showed no fear of any of these stimuli;
  • Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc;
  • Archived from the original on 3 August 2012;
  • The child would die five years after the experiment due to complications from the congenital disease;
  • William Barger[ edit ] The identity claimed by Beck, Levinson, and Irons has been contested by psychology researchers, Russ Powell and Nancy Digdon, as well as Watson scholar, Ben Harris, who offer an alternative identity based on available data;
  • In this respect, no new behavior has been learned yet.

The neutral stimulus in classical conditioning does not produce a response until it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus. During this stage a stimulus which produces no response i.

For example, a stomach virus UCS might be associated with eating a certain food such as chocolate CS.

  1. If a student associates negative emotional experiences with school, then this can obviously have bad results, such as creating a school phobia. One of these lectures was attended by Mary Cover Jones , which sparked her interest in pursuing graduate work in psychology.
  2. However, this stimulus generalization did not extend to everything with hair.
  3. This stage also involves another stimulus which has no effect on a person and is called the neutral stimulus NS.
  4. Retrieved August 30, 2014.

For classical conditioning to be effective, the conditioned stimulus should occur before the unconditioned stimulus, rather than after it, or during the same time. Thus, the conditioned stimulus acts as a type of signal or cue for the unconditioned stimulus.

Often during this stage, the UCS must be associated with the CS on a number of occasions, or trials, for learning to take place. However, one trail learning can happen on certain occasions when it is not necessary for an association to be strengthened over time such as being sick after food poisoning or drinking too much alcohol.

Did it also apply to humans? In a famous though ethically dubious experiment, Watson and Rayner 1920 showed that it did. Little Albert was a 9-month-old infant who was tested on his reactions to various stimuli. He was shown a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey and various masks.

Classical Conditioning

Albert described as "on the whole stolid and unemotional" showed no fear of any of these stimuli. However, what did startle him and cause him to be afraid was if a hammer was struck against a steel bar behind his head.

The sudden loud noise would cause "little Albert to burst into tears. When Little Albert was just over 11 months old, the white rat was presented, and seconds later the hammer was struck against the steel bar. This was done seven times over the next seven weeks, and each time Little Albert burst into tears. By now little Albert only had to see the rat and he immediately showed every sign of fear.

He would cry whether or not the hammer was hit against the steel bar and he would attempt to crawl away. In addition, the Watson and Rayner found that Albert developed phobias of objects which shared characteristics with the rat; including the family dog, a fur coat, some cotton wool and a Father Christmas mask!

This process is known as generalization. Watson and Rayner had shown that classical conditioning could be used to create a phobia. A phobia is an irrational fear, i. Over the next few weeks and months, Little Albert was observed and ten days after conditioning his fear of the rat was much less marked. This dying out of a learned response is called extinction.

Little Albert experiment

However, even after a full month it was still evident, and the association could be renewed by repeating the original procedure a few times. Classical Conditioning in the Classroom The implications of classical conditioning in the classroom are less important than those of operant conditioningbut there is a still need for teachers to try to make sure that students associate positive emotional experiences with learning.

If a student associates negative emotional experiences with school, then this can obviously have bad results, such as creating a school phobia. For example, if a student is bullied at school they may learn to associate the school with fear. It could also explain why some students show a particular dislike of certain subjects that continue throughout their academic career. This could happen if a student is humiliated or punished in class by a teacher.

Critical Evaluation Classical conditioning emphasizes the importance of learning from the environment, and supports nurture over nature. However, it is limiting to describe behavior solely in terms of either nature or nurtureand attempts to do this underestimate little albert case study watson and rayner complexity of human behavior.

It is more likely that behavior is due to an interaction between nature biology and nurture environment. A strength of classical conditioning theory is that it is scientific. This is because it's based on empirical evidence carried out by controlled experiments. For example, Pavlov 1902 showed how classical conditioning could be used to make a dog salivate to the sound of a bell. Classical conditioning is also a reductionist explanation of behavior. This is because a complex behavior is broken down into smaller stimulus-response units of behavior.

Supporters of a reductionist approach say that it is scientific. Breaking complicated behaviors down to small parts means that they can be scientifically tested.

However, some would argue that the reductionist view lacks validity. Thus, while reductionism is useful, it can lead to incomplete explanations.

Classical Conditioning Examples

A final criticism of classical conditioning theory is that it is deterministic. This means that it does not allow for any degree of free will in the individual.

Accordingly, a person has no control over the reactions they have learned from classical conditioning, such as a phobia. The deterministic approach also has important implications for psychology as a science. Scientists are interested in discovering laws which can then be used to predict events. However, by creating general laws of behavior, deterministic psychology underestimates the uniqueness of human beings and their freedom to choose their own destiny. Psychology as the behaviorist views it.

Psychological Review, 20, 158—177. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 3 1pp. People's Institute Publishing Company. How to reference this article: