Little Albert...Found and in Poor Health

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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?

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I think he may have suffered from neurological impairments, however i don't think this would affect the results of the experiment too much.The ending results may be a little off but i believe the main message is the same.

I think that this article is very interesting. The study of little Albert is a very famous one and if he truly did have health problems that could greatly impact that results of the experiment. Obviously it is considered unethical to do this sort of experiment and conditioning on children today but I wonder what would happen if it was possible... would children still react the same way Albert did? Or was Albert special? This is hard to determine considering this is a case study- only one person was manipulated in the study.

This is very interesting, and while reading about this initially in the book, I always wondered why no one had looked further into what had happened to Little Albert after the study. I think it is definitely possible that his impairments could have affected the study, but probably not enough to change the final outcome.

This was an interesting experiment, but I don't feel like the experiment had consequently caused the results to be swayed. There is no scientific proof proving that Watson's report was intentionally altered and that his health was in some risk. The neurological damage is a point of concern, but how can we say exactly how much, or if at all the experiment was changed because of the damage? It was never stated how severe the damage was.

*Sorry, not the experiment, but the possible health problems causing the results to be swayed

When I read about little Albert in the book, I was curious as to what happened to him. Finding out that he never learned to talk or walk along with that he had some "neurological" damage already makes it kind of sad. In the experiment he was also taught to fear the furry animals. This is definitely something to look into, but then again, the mother was okay with it. Either way, I think that the results in a way could be swayed a bit, but then again who knows, I'm not a psychologist. What do you think about this?

This makes the results a lot less reliable even if Watson didn't know about little Albert's condition.I wonder if this example will be continued to be used as an example since it's so widely known. The same results may have occurred even if little Albert was a healthy child, but this study probably shouldn't be used as an example to teach about this concept because it is impossible to know.

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This page contains a single entry by truel010 published on February 26, 2012 7:51 PM.

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