What happened to Little Albert? A Look into the Reality

While experts continue to debate the true identity of the boy at the center of Watson’s experiment, there is little doubt that Little Albert left a lasting impression on the field of psychology.

Who was Little Albert?

Douglas Merritte, the son of Arvilla Merritte, a nurse, has been identified as “Little Albert.” He is the baby behind John Watson’s famous 1920 emotional conditioning experiment at Johns Hopkins University,

She lived and worked at a grounds medical clinic at the hour of the trial — getting $1 for her child’s interest. One of brain science’s most prominent secrets seems to have been settled.

In the study, Watson and Rosalie Rayner, a graduate student, gave the 9-month-old child, whom they dubbed “Albert B,” a white rat and other furry objects.

The baby liked to play with these things. Watson would later make a loud noise behind the baby’s head while Albert played with the white rat.

After various molding preliminaries, Watson and Rayner once again introduced the creatures and fuzzy things without the frightening clamor.

Through the molding, the creatures and items that were once a wellspring of bliss and interest had turned into a trigger of dread.

What happened to Little Albert
What happened to Little Albert?

Eventually, the pieces of the puzzle came together. Douglas and his mother shared virtually all of Albert and his mother’s known characteristics. Douglas’s mother, like Albert’s, worked at the Harriet Lane Home, a campus pediatric hospital.

Douglas was a white male who left home in the early 1920s, just like Albert, and he was born at the same time of year. Furthermore, a correlation between an image of Albert with Douglas’ picture uncovered facial likenesses.

What happened to Little Albert?

Douglas AKA Little Albert died at the age of six on May 10, 1925, of hydrocephalus (a build-up of fluid in his brain), which he had suffered from since birth.

He and his mother moved away before Watson and Rayner could attempt to “cure” Little Albert. Beck wrote about the discovery, “Our seven-year search was longer than the little boy’s life.”

The famous Little Albert experiment was carried out by graduate student Rosalie Rayner and behaviorist John B. Watson.

Before that, Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov had carried out experiments that demonstrated the process of conditioning dogs.

Little Albert
Little Albert (Source: YouTube)

Watson made Pavlov’s exploration a stride further by demonstrating the way that close-to-home responses could be traditionally molded in individuals.

A young child, whom Watson and Rayner referred to as “Albert B.” but who is now more commonly referred to as “Little Albert,” took part in the experiment.

At the point when Little Albert was 9 months old, Watson and Rayner presented him with a progression of upgrades including a white rodent, a bunny, a monkey, veils, and copying papers, and noticed the kid’s responses.

The kid at first showed no apprehension about any of the articles he was shown. Watson hit a metal pipe with a hammer the next time Albert was around the rat and made a loud noise. After hearing the loud noise, the child naturally started to cry.

After more than once matching the white rodent with the boisterous clamor, Albert started to expect a terrifying commotion at whatever point he saw the white rodent. Before long, Albert started to cry essentially in the wake of seeing the rodent.

Controversies about Little Albert’s experiment

The experiment was conducted without the knowledge or consent of Albert’s parents, creating a fear response as an example of psychological harm, Finally, Watson and Raynor did not desensitize Albert to his fear of rats.

By conditioning Little Albert with the same neutral stimuli as the generalized stimuli (dog and rabbit), the researchers messed up their own experiment.

There are some questions about whether this fear response was actually a phobia. Albert did not respond at all when he was allowed to suck on his thumb.

This improvement caused him to disregard the noisy sound. It required in excess of 30 attempts for Watson to at long last take Albert’s thumb on a mission to notice a trepidation reaction. 

As this was an experiment of one individual the findings cannot be generalized to others (e.g. low external validity).

Albert was unique because he had been raised in a hospital environment from birth, and staff had never seen him act fearful or enraged.

Accordingly, Little Albert might have answered distinctively in this examination to how other small kids might have, these discoveries will hence be extraordinary to him.

The cognitive approach criticizes the behavioral model as it does not take mental processes into account. They argue that the feeling part of the response is caused by the thinking processes that take place between a stimulus and a response.

Overlooking the job of perception is hazardous, as unreasonable reasoning gives off an impression of being a vital element of fear.

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