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Little Albert

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Watch this contemporary footage of Watson's famous Little Albert experiment.


1. Describe the Little Albert experiment in terms of classical conditioning.

2. What criticisms might we make of this study today?


ANSWERS

1. Describe the Little Albert experiment in terms of classical conditioning
Albert dislikes loud noises, which make him cry. The unconditioned stimulus is a clanging noise, and the unconditioned response crying. The experimenter presents a rat, a neutral stimulus, at the same time as the unconditioned stimulus, the clanging noise. Repeated trials condition the subject to cry upon presentation of the rat, now a conditioned stimulus. The response is also generalised to other furry objects.

2. Aside from ethical considerations, this experiment has been criticised in terms of research design, and because it lacked objective measures of the child's reaction, using instead the subjective impressions of the experimenters.

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