Classical Conditioning

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The subject of classical conditioning is something that sparked my attention from the start of the reading. It is also the subject of the discussion session that I was forced to miss haha. At first I was overwhelmed with all of the new vocab that applied to classical conditioning but as I continued the reading, the pieces sort of formed into a puzzle that began to make sense. What stuck out to me was the tale of baby Albert. It was a study about the acquisition of classical conditioning. Nine-month-old baby Albert was given a rat to play with then the psychologist would sneak up behind him and make a very loud noise, which scared baby Albert. After repeating this process baby Albert developed a conditioned response so that even after time had gone by when presented with the rat baby Albert would cry. Baby Albert even showed evidence of stimulus generalization meaning he would also cry when he saw a rabbit, dog, even a furry coat. This entire study seems so crazy to me. How could a mother put her baby through this and how could experimenters think this study was okay? I'm glad that experimental ethics have improved since then because some serious issues could have happened especially in situations like that. And who knows maybe something serious did happen to baby Albert from this study, we don't know because little is known about what happened after his mother drew him from the study. However, through this study we did gain new knowledge on conditioned responses and we discovered how we can treat defferent phobias. This is a link to a good video showing more about the "Little Albert Study"

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This page contains a single entry by desl0021 published on October 16, 2011 8:15 PM.

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