Little Albert experiment, run by John Broadus Watson and graduate student
Rosalie Rayner, showed empirical evidence of the ability to condition infants
by frightening them.
Around the age of nine months, Watson and Rayner
expose a child to a series of stimuli including a white rat, a rabbit, a
monkey, masks and burning newspapers and observe the boy's reactions.
The boy initially showed no fear of any of the objects he was shown.
The next time Albert is exposed to the rat, Watson makes a loud noise
by hitting a metal pipe with a hammer.
Naturally, the child begins to
cry after hearing being frightened by the loud noise.
pairing the white rat with the loud noise, Albert began to cry simply after
seeing the rat.
The Little Albert
experiment presents and example of how
classical operant conditioning
can be used to condition an emotional response:
Neural Stimulus: The white rat
Unconditioned Stimulus: The loud noise
The white rat
Conditioned Response: Fear
Watson, a poor
academic student, attended the University of Chicago where he worked with John
Dewey, James Rowland Angel, Jacques Loeb, and Henry Herbert Donaldson.
Watson founded the school of behaviorist methodology.
not concerned with cognition, introspection, or any
form of internal
Watson was the first to theorize individuals could
be molded into anything.
"Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed,
and my specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take anyone at
random and train him to become any specialist I might select - doctor, lawyer,
artist, merchant, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his
talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his
ancestors." - John Broadus Watson
John Broadus Watson mentors BF
Carrie Buck of
Charlottesville, the mentally normal daughter of a mentally retarded mother, is
legally sterilized against her will at the Virginia Colony Home for the
As many as 10,000 perfectly normal women were
forcibly sterilized for "legal" reasons until 1981 in
Cornelius Rhoads, a pathologist from the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research,
purposely infects human guinea pigs in Puerto Rico with cancer cells.
Cornelius Rhoads establish the US Army
Biological Warfare facilities and is named to the US Atomic Energy
Commission where he begins a series of radiation exposure experiments on
American soldiers and civilian hospital patients.
Mental patients at
Elgin State Hospital in Illinois are injected with
The US Public Health
Service in Tuskegee, Alabama diagnose 400 poor, black sharecroppers with
Researchers use the men as human guinea pigs to follow the
symptoms and progression of the disease over the next 4 decades.
Syphilis Experiments and the State-Secrets
In the Monster Study of 22
children Mary Tudor, under the tutelage of Wendell Johnson of the University of
Iowa, gave positive speech therapy to half of the children, praising the
fluency of their speech, and negative speech therapy to the other half,
belittling the children for every speech imperfection and telling them they
Many of the normal
speaking orphan children who received negative therapy in the experiment
suffered negative psychological effects and some retained speech problems for
the rest of their lives.
Monster Study on Stuttering
Dr. William C. Black infects a 12-month-old baby with
herpes as part of a
The Archives of Pediatrics describes medical
studies of the severe gum disease Vincent's angina in which doctors transmit
the disease from sick children to healthy children with oral swabs.
Drs. Francis and Jonas Salk
and other researchers at the University of Michigan spray large amounts
of wild influenza virus directly into the nasal
passages of "volunteers" from
institutions in Michigan.
Researchers give 800
pregnant women at a Vanderbilt
University prenatal clinic "cocktails" including
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