Little Albert


Aims: To investigate whether emotional responses, such as fear could be conditioned.

To determine whether the use of classical conditioning principles could cause a human baby to develop a fear he did not previously have.

Background: Watson and Rayner chose Albert as their participant. He had been reared in a hospital enviroment because his mother was a nurs in a home for children.

He was healthy and well developed and they thought the study would do him 'relatively little harm'.

This was a lab experiment, NOT a case study because they did not gather in-depth information. It was well controlled and there was careful manipulation of the IV and careful measurement and recording of the DV.

Procedure: Initally tested Albert at 11 months old for fear reactions towards a white rat, a rabbit and cotton wool.

When they were presented he showed no fear.

They also banged a hammer against a steel bar making a loud noise. Albert was very upset and cried. This was also filmed and some events were witnessed by his mother and nurses.

Procedure and results:

a) establishing a conditioned response (11 months, 10…


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