Little Emotional Albert Rachel Walterman, Jamie Clay, Jess Schweer, Candace Cornick
Little Emotional Albert • John B. Watson, Rosalie Raynor • 1920 • Freud’s psychoanalysis dominated psychology • Watson sought to disprove that biological processes were the only explanation for emotions
Little Emotional Albert • Albert was an orphan and an only child • Raised from birth in hospital environment • Emotionally and physically healthy • Happy baby
Little Emotional Albert • Watson’s theory: Emotional responses exist because humans have been conditioned to respond to stimuli in the environment • We learn our emotions
Little Emotional Albert • Watson’s goals: • Can we condition fear of an animal by striking a steel bar simultaneously? • Can the conditioned emotion be transferred to other objects? • What is the effect of time on conditioned responses? • How can the conditioned response be removed (extinction)?
Little Emotional Albert • Method • Albert was presented with stimuli to observe his reactions to them: • White rat, rabbit, dog, monkey, mask with and without hair, and white cotton wool • Albert did not show any fear to any of the situations he was presented with
Little Emotional Albert • Tested reaction to loud noises by hammering a steel bar • The noise startled him and he cried • This is an unconditioned stimulus because the fear does not have to be learned
Little Emotional Albert • Conditioning began at age 11 months • Albert was presented with the white rat and a loud noise simultaneously • At first, Albert was interested in the rat and wanted to touch it, but as soon as he reached for it a metal bar was struck, causing him to be frightened
Little Emotional Albert • Process was repeated 3 times • One week later, the same procedure was followed • After 7 times, the rat was presented to Albert and he reacted with fear • He cried, turned over and crawled away
Little Emotional Albert • Watson was curious if the behavior would transfer to other objects – generalization • The next week Albert was tested again and found to still be afraid of the rat • Then, an object similar to the rat (a white rabbit) was presented to him • Albert instantly showed signs of fear – crying and crawling away
Little Emotional Albert • Albert was not afraid of the rabbit prior to the study • He had generalized a stimulus • He was then presented with a package of cotton, a fur coat, and a Santa Claus mask and reacted fearfully to each one
Little Emotional Albert • To increase the significance of the findings, Albert was tested in a different environment • Albert was brought to a different hospital room with brighter light and more people present • His reactions to the stimuli are presented in the following table:
Little Emotional Albert • Final Test: • To study if Albert’s learned emotional responses would persist over time • However, Albert was adopted and the tests were discontinued for 31 days • He was brought back and tested with the same stimuli and continued to be fearful • Researchers planned to recondition Albert of his fears, but he left the hospital on the day the tests were scheduled • No reconditioning took place
Little Emotional Albert • Significant Findings: • Watson’s theory can explain human emotions in simple terms • Freud criticized as too complex to accurately explain behavior • Emotional disturbances can not always be contributed to childhood trauma • Phobias and sexual fetishes could be developed from similar conditioning
Little Emotional Albert • Discussion Questions: • Even though Watson’s experiment was done in 1920, would you consider it ethical at that time? • Do you think that such fears would have occurred naturally had Albert not been in the experiment? • Do you think that the number of times Albert was conditioned affected his responses?
Little Emotional Albert • Do you think that the fact that Albert was raised in a hospital played a role in his reactions? • Do you think that a fear learned during infancy could transfer to adulthood? • Could this study be generalized among all children or was he just a spaz? • How could the experiments’ effects be reversed?
Little Albie Where’s Albert ????