In one of the more famous experiments in psychology, J.B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner took a baby to disprove Freud's belief that phobia originated from the unconscious. Using a 9-month baby, they conditioned to fear what he once had little or positive reactions towards.
After a month of Watson's experiment, Little Albert was never unconditioned since his mother pulled him out of the study. No one knew what happened to Little Albert for a long time, and many questions were raised concerning Little Albert's life after the traumatic experiment. Did Little Albert continue to display fear for furry objects or did his response lessen in intensity after time?
However, according to an American Psychological Association article, after years of research, Little Albert has been identified as Douglas Merritte. Unfortunately, Douglas died when he was 6 years old of hydrocephalus, or an accumulation of fluid inside the brain.
But new questions and speculations have risen in light since the finding of even more new information about Watson's controversial experiment. Although Little Albert was said to be healthy in Watson's experiment, new findings may indicate that Little Albert may not have been all that healthy as Watson had written in his report. According to medical records for Douglas Merritte, he was showing signs of "neurological" damage before the experiment. Relatives of Douglas also say that Douglas never learned to walk or to talk.
In conclusion, if these new findings are true, the next step would be to determine if Watson was aware of the baby's medical condition. After reading the articles (links provided at the end of this entry), what are your thoughts about the Little Albert experiment? Was Little Albert a healthy baby, or did his neurological impairments sway the results of the experiment?