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Dr. Watson's Infant Experiments

We have done much progress in the field of psychology and research has helped us uncover many disorders and imbalances that occur in our personality, our thought processes, and our overall mental state.

But back in its early stages, there were some controversial tests being conducted. And this one involved a child.

One such trailblazer was a behaviorist named John B. Watson. In 1919, his curiosity was aroused after observing a child who showed an irrational fear of dogs. Watson supposed that a shiny new human would not possess an inborn fear of domesticated animals, but if “one animal succeeds in arousing fear, any moving furry animal thereafter may arouse it.”
In order to satiate his scientific appetite, he undertook a series of experiments at Johns Hopkins University to determine whether an infant could indeed be conditioned to fear cute-and-cuddly animals by associating them with scary stimuli.
A couple decades earlier Pavlov’s notorious dogs had been conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell; Watson hoped to expand upon the concept.

(Image credit: Colin Maynard/Unsplash)


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