John B Watson Biography (1878- 1958): The founder of the behavioristic school of thought quotes.
• American psychologist with a remarkable career.
• Initially trained in introspection at the University of Chicago but found it extremely vague and mentalistic.
• John B Watson became interested in experimental research with animals.
• He completed his Ph.D. on that in three years, being the youngest such graduate.
• Taught at the University of Chicago for four years, joined John Hopkins as full professor and soon became chairperson of the psychology department.
• Gave a revolutionary, pragmatic approach often known as ‘Radical Behaviorism’.
• He and his followers believed and advocated that psychology should depart from the study of unconscious and the mind because they could not be verified or tested scientifically.
• Observable behavior is all that psychology should be looking at.
• Environment and external world (environmental stimuli) is what shapes and determines behavior.
• Learning is what matters in what a person is, and not the inborn instincts, impulses, drive, id, or unconscious motivation. An understanding of learning will encompass all aspects of personality.
• Mentalist concepts, not grounded in reality, should be rejected.
Impact of Learning Experience
“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in, and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors. (John B Watson, 1924)
Learned Fear: The Case of “Little Albert” 1920: Developing Fear, John B Watson and Rosalie Rayne Eleven month old Albert who enjoyed playing with a cute white rat was made afraid of it by linking a loud frightening sound with the appearance of the rat. The experiment was further expanded and Watson and Rayner demonstrated that the fear of the rat could be generalized to all sorts of stimuli: a dog, a cotton ball and a Santa Clause. Watson and Rayner could not get a chance to undo the learning as the child’s mother removed him from the hospital. Issues stemming from Little Albert’s Experiment
• Unethical treatment of Albert, that too without the advised consent of his mother Watson contradicted his own earlier assertion that early childhood emotional experiences can affect a person for a lifetime.