The researchers' first order of business was to establish a psychological baseline. They tried exposing the infant to a white rat, a rabbit, a dog, and a monkey, and Albert reached for each animal with cheerful curiosity. The researchers brought him items such as masks and clumps of cotton, and he manipulated the objects with interest. They placed a long steel rod behind Albert's head and struck the metal sharply with a claw hammer, and he flinched with evident distress. The infant's baseline reactions to these stimuli were duly noted, and two months later the peculiar series of "joint stimulation" experiments was underway.
Of course, the poor child began to show high anxiety when the objects were presented. Dr. Watson had intended to "undo" the phobias by giving Little Albert a pleasant stimulus in the presence of those objects. But he dropped that part of the experiment due to lack of time! No one knows what happened to Albert afterward. Dr. Watson's research was received with fascination by other psychologists, and no one at the time questioned the ethics of the experiment. Read the whole story at Damn Interesting. http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=970