Little Albert experiment’ in medical history

The Little Albert experiment proves that the majority of human behavior is learned and conditional, not innate.

The experiment was conducted by John Broadus Watson in 1920. The test subject was boy Albert B., selected at 9 months of age. No one was opposed to choosing the boy to be the test subject because no one was there to protest. Albert is an orphan. He is in very good health, both physically and mentally.

The experiment is that Albert is shown a series of animals to be able to find neutral stimuli. He looked at a white mouse, a rabbit, a monkey, a dog, a mask with and without hair, white cotton. As a result, the boy had no innate fear about these objects.

Unconditional stimulation is loud noise. People used two steel bars to bang on each other to make a loud sound and make Albert cry. This type of reaction is called an unconditional reaction because it does not need to be learned. It is a natural innate reaction for everyone.

On the first day of the experiment, Albert was shown a white mouse and a steel rod. The boy appeared to be close to the mouse and tried to touch it, while the noise was made from the steel bar. This process is repeated three times.

A week later, the above process repeated up to seven times. After that, Albert was shown the mouse without noise from the steel bar. The boy’s reaction is very different from the previous times: start crying, turn away and even try to leave. The fear of the mouse was set in the boy’s head.

The next step in the experiment is to see beyond the fear of mice, does the child have this feeling with other animals or similar objects. So two weeks later, Albert was tested again. He was shown a white rabbit and the result was very similar to the way he reacted to the mouse: leaning down, whimpering and crying. When the white rabbit was touched, Albert crawled away and cried.

The process is repeated, replaced by a dog, white fur coat, white cotton, Watson’s gray hair and Santa mask. All of these items scared the little Albert.

The experiment was then conducted on different media. Despite being paused for 31 days, when performed again, Albert still had such a scared reaction. This proves that fear has been successfully conditioned in the brain of a boy less than one year old.

This experiment was opposed by many people because it was conducted on a very young subject, without parental supervision, as well as an experimental way. However, scientists believe that experimentation has brought some remarkable conclusions.

The first conclusion is that emotions can be conditioned through simple reaction-stimulating techniques like the behaviors performed in experiments. Next, in addition to fear, other emotions can also be learned using the same reaction-stimulating techniques as in an experiment. The third conclusion that the researchers draw is that obsession, devotion or extreme reaction develops in a way similar to conditional fear, though they are much more complex.

The final conclusion proves that emotional disorders in adulthood are not always due to sexual trauma occurring during childhood.