The Little Albert Experiment
- Year Conducted: 1920
- Parties Involved: Johns Hopkins University & John B. Watson
John Hopkins University Professor, John B. Watson, had a theory he wanted to test in 1920. Is fear innate or conditioned? As in, are you born with those fears or are they developed? To test this, he exposed a baby of 9 months named Albert to several different things to stimulate a reaction. This ranged from things like wool to even live rats all without any conditioning, to which Albert showed no fear at all. Then Watson decided to do the same things, but this time, use conditioning.
To do this, Watson banged loud noises behind Albert to startle and upset him when exposing him to things. This was to force Albert to associate the noise with the things he was exposed to. Thus, making him develop fears of anything white & fluffy and much more. Psychologists later claimed Albert may have had a neurological disorder before testing him, but Watson claims he was healthy. Sadly, the child died from hydrocephalus at just 6. This is when the brain cavity builds up with fluid, and puts pressure on the brain. Some speculate that exposing Albert to potential life-long fears led to his hydrocephalus issue.