The little Albert experiment was a very famous psychology experiment conducted in the 1920’s by behaviorist john B. Watson and a grade student by the name of Rosalie rayner. Just about any serious psychologist and psychologist in training can recall the story of John Watson and his experiment of classical conditioning on Little Albert. Though this experiment is excellent in demonstrating the fundamental terms of classical conditioning, further consideration on the possible lasting effects on the test subject have deemed the experiment unethical.
In this experiment, A little boy namely ‘Albert’ was allowed to play with a little white rat. He loved playing with the rat, until one day, Watson and Rayner decided to pair a loud noise with the white rat. Whenever Albert touched the rat, a loud noise was played, which scared little Albert. After continuous pairing of the rat with the loud noise, Albert started associating the rat with the loud noise and started fearing it.
The rat was initially a neutral stimulus, which when paired with loud noise (Unconditioned stimulus), became a conditioned stimulus. Hence, resulting in a conditioned response that was not there in the very first place (Fear of the rat).Further, Watson noticed that Albert started to generalize the stimulus since Now, he was scared of anything that looked furry and white (Rabbit, Santa’s beard) like the rat.This kind of conditioning is known as Classical conditioning. Watson was inspired from Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning on the salivation of dogs.Watson even claimed that he would desensitize little Albert, but was unable to do so, because the experiment was extremely unethical and was done without the consent of Albert’s mother.