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  1. John Broadus Watson (January 9, 1878 – September 25, 1958) was an American psychologist who popularized the scientific theory of behaviorism, establishing it as a psychological school. Watson advanced this change in the psychological discipline through his 1913 address at Columbia University, titled Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.

    John B. Watson - Wikipedia
  2. John B. Watson - Wikipedia › wiki › John_B

    John Broadus Watson (January 9, 1878 – September 25, 1958) was an American psychologist who popularized the scientific theory of behaviorism, establishing it as a psychological school. Watson advanced this change in the psychological discipline through his 1913 address at Columbia University, titled Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.

  3. Biography of Psychologist John B. Watson - Verywell Mind › john-b-watson-biography

    Apr 01, 2020 · John B. Watson was a pioneering psychologist who played an important role in developing behaviorism. Watson believed that psychology should primarily be scientific observable behavior. He is remembered for his research on the conditioning process.

  4. John B. Watson - New World Encyclopedia › entry › John_B
    • Work
    • Legacy
    • Major Works
    • References
    • Further Reading
    • External Links

    Studies on animal behavior

    His dissertation from the University of Chicago, "Animal Education: An Experimental Study on the Psychical Development of the White Rat, Correlated with the Growth of its Nervous System," was the first modern scientific book on rat behavior. It has been described as a "classic of developmental psychobiology" by historian of psychology, Donald Dewsbury. "Animal Education" described the relationship between brainmyelinization and learning ability in rats at different ages. Watson showed that th...


    1. Main article: Behaviorism In 1913, Watson published what is considered by many to be his most important work, the article "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It," sometimes called "The Behaviorist Manifesto." In this article, Watson outlined the major features of his new philosophy of psychology, called "behaviorism." The first paragraph of the article concisely described Watson's overall position: Watson's philosophy of science was shaped by many sources. The history of experimental phys...

    Little Albert experiment

    At Johns Hopkins Universityin 1920, Watson and Rayner performed one of the most controversial experiments in the history of psychology. It has become immortalized in introductory psychology textbooks as the "Little Albert experiment." The goal of the experiment was to provide empirical evidence of classical conditioning by developing "Little Albert's" fear of a white rat. As the story of Little Albert became well known, inaccuracies and inconsistencies and rumors crept in (see Harris 1979 for...

    The "twelve infants" quote

    Eventually, Watson's penchant for strong rhetoric would overshadow his scientific contributions. He is famous for boasting that he could take any 12 human infants, and by applying behavioral techniques, create whatever kind of person he desired. Naturally, he admitted that this claim was far beyond his means and data, noting, pointedly, that others had made similarly extravagant claims about the power of heredity over experience for thousands of years. The quote, probably Watson's most well-k...


    Despite the notoriety and controversy surrounding John B. Watson and his works, he made many important contributions to the scientific community during his lifetime. In publishing the first modern scientific book on rat behavior and some of the earliest examples of ethology and ethograms, he was the catalyst for many important developments in the field of animal research. And, although his works on childrearing were strongly criticized, he was still an important voice in the national debate i...

    Watson, John B. 1907. "Kinaesthetic and Organic Sensations: Their Role in the Reactions of the White rat to the Maze." Psychological Review Monograph Supplement8(33): 1–100.
    Watson, John B. 1908. "The Behavior of Noddy and Sooty Terns." Carnegie Institute Publication103: 197–255.
    Watson, John B. 1913. "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It." Psychological Review20: 158–177.
    Watson, John B. 1914. Behavior: An introduction to comparative psychology.Henry Holt.
    Harris, Ben. 1979. "Whatever Happened to Little Albert?" American Psychologist34(2): 151–160.
    Watson, John B. 1913. "Psychology as the behaviorist views it." Psychological Review20: 158–177.
    Watson, John B., and Rosalie Rayner. 1920. "Conditioned emotional reactions (The Little Albert study)." Journal of Experimental Psychology3(1): 1–14.
    Buckley, Kerry W. 1989. Mechanical Man: John Broadus Watson and the Beginnings of Behaviorism. Guilford Press. ISBN 0898627443
    Buckley, Kerry W. 1994. "Misbehaviorism: The Case of John B. Watson's Dismissal from Johns Hopkins University." Modern Perspectives on John B. Watson and Classical Behaviorism.Greenwood Press.
    Burnham, John C. 1994. "John B. Watson: Interviewee, Professional Figure, Symbol." Modern Perspectives on John B. Watson and Classical Behaviorism.Greenwood Press.
    Coon, Deborah J. 1994. "'Not a Creature of Reason': The Alleged Impact of Watsonian Behaviorism on Advertising in the 1920s." Modern Perspectives on John B. Watson and Classical Behaviorism.Greenwo...

    All links retrieved May 14, 2018. 1. It's All in the Upbringing– A biographical sketch of Watson's life and work – Pioneers of Scholarship 2. The Long Dark Night of Behaviorism– An account of the consequences of John B. Watson's childrearing methods for his own children and his granddaughter, actress Mariette Hartley.

  5. John B. Watson And Behaviorism | Betterhelp › john-b-watson-and-behaviorism

    Mar 08, 2021 · John B. Watson was an American psychologist who is best known for establishing the psychological school of Behaviorism. His theories, research, and work were influential to the field of psychology, and through that, he left his marks on the larger world. John B. Watson Helped With Pioneering The Behaviorism Psychology Movement.

    • Patricia Oelze
    • John B. Watson's Early Life
    • Educational Background
    • Watson’s Theory of Behaviorism
    • Watson’s View of Emotions
    • The Little Albert Experiment
    • Watson’s Thoughts on Child-Rearing
    • John B. Watson's Books, Awards, and Accomplishments
    • Personal Life

    John Broadus Watson was born on January 9, 1878 in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. His parents were Pickens Butler Watson and Emma Kesiah Watson. Watson’s older siblings were Edward, Thomas Stradley, and Mary Alice. His parents would have two more children after he was born. Pickens and Emma Watson lost most of their wealth during the American Civil War. As a result, Watson and his siblings lived a simple life on the family farm. Watson’s grandfather, James Madison Watson, helped to establish one of several Baptist churches in the area. Most of his family members were devout fundamental baptists and did not smoke, drink, or dance. Watson's mother, Emma, was a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman who was known for her devotion to her children and her religion. In fact, she named Watson after John Albert Broadus—an influential Baptist pastor in nearby Greenville who rose to national prominence. As a young boy, Watson was called “Broadus” rather than “John” or “John B.” Emma hoped that...

    Watson entered Furman University in 1894 when he was sixteen years old. Furman was a Southern Baptist school that generally produced Baptist ministers. Watson was able to gain admission due to his mother’s influence and connections. He also managed to convince university officials that he had changed his rebellious ways. While at Furman, Watson began to put more effort into his studies. But although he was improving academically, none of his grades were distinguished. After two years, he managed to get a job as an assistant at the university’s chemistry lab to help pay for his school expenses. He was also a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity, however his poor social skills contributed to him making few friends in college. When Watson was seventeen years old, he met Gordon Moore at Furman University. Moore was a stern clergy member and psychology professor who took the young Watson under his wing. During Watson’s senior year at Furman, Moore gave him a failing grade for his final p...

    Watson first published his theory of behaviorism in 1913 in an article entitled Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. In that article—sometimes called the “Behaviorist Manifesto”—Watson argued against the study of consciousness and other unobservable phenomena which had been the focus of psychology up to that time. In Watson’s view, psychology’s concern with such matters prevented it from being recognized as a legitimate science. The focus of the field, he insisted, should not be on unseen internal states that have to be inferred, but on external, observable behavior that can be directly measured. As such, he saw no value in studying covert events such as thoughts, perceptions, and sensations. Watson’s goal was for psychology to be seen as a “purely objective experimental branch of natural science” with the goal of predicting and controlling behavior. Instead of a science of the mind, Watson pushed for psychology to become a science of behavior. He also argued that the methods bei...

    Watson saw emotions as nothing more than physiological reactions to environmental stimuli. According to this view, when an individual encounters specific stimuli, certain physiological changes are triggered and these changes are associated with overt bodily responses. For example, Watson noted that among infants, fear is associated with catching one’s breath, closing one’s eyes, and crying. In his writings on emotions, Watson gave no consideration to an individual’s perception of the stimuli, internal sensations, or subjective feeling states. These unobservable events were not considered important. Watson believed that humans are born with just three basic emotions—fear, rage, and love. All other emotions were said to develop from these three. Watson suggested that the basic emotions are unlearned and are elicited by specific stimuli. In infants, fear is triggered by loud noises and a sudden loss of physical support , rage is produced by restrictions in movement, and love is evoked...

    In order to demonstrate how emotions could become attached to stimuli that did not originally produce them, Watson and his graduate student, Rosalie Raynor, undertook one of the most famous (and controversial) studies in the history of psychology. The subject of the experiment was an 11-month old infant named Albert. At the beginning of the experiment, a white rat was placed near to Albert, who seemed attracted to it. He displayed no fear in relation to the animal. As he began reaching toward the rat, however, Watson struck a metal bar behind him with a hammer. The loud, sudden noise startled little Albert, causing him to jump and fall forward. As he reached for the rat a second time, the bar was struck again and he began to tremble. When this occurred a third time, Albert started crying. By the seventh pairing of the white rat with the loud noise, Albert displayed fear in the presence of the rat, even when the noise was absent. Upon seeing the rat, he immediately began to cry and c...

    In a book released in 1928, The Psychological Care of the Infant and Child,Watson dispensed his views on the subject of child-rearing. Despite his emphasis on the importance of nurture in human development, his approach to parenting was anything but nurturing. Watson believed children should be treated as young adults and he advised parents against hugging and kissing their children or placing them in their laps. He suggested instead that they shake hands with their children or give them a pat on the head in recognition of their achievements. Watson had no tolerance for sentimentality in the parent-child relationship and went as far as saying that a mother’s love is “a dangerous instrument which may inflict a never healing wound” on a child. He cautioned parents that if they were overly affectionate, their children would fail to become responsible, independent, or successful in life.

    Watson wrote several books based on his research. Some of his more well-known works include: 1. Behavior: An introduction to comparative psychology, 1914 2. Psychology from the standpoint of a behaviorist, 1919 3. Conditioned Emotional Reactions, 1920 4. Behaviorism, 1924 5. Psychological Care of Infant and Child, 1928 Watson was elected president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1915. In 1957 he received the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions from the APA.

    John Watson married Mary Ickes in 1901 while he was pursuing his graduate studies. Mary was a student in one of his classes at the University of Chicago and had developed a crush on him. The couple had a son and a daughter who were named John and Mary respectively. However the couple divorced years later due to Watson’s ongoing affair with his research assistant Rosalie Rayner at Johns Hopkins University. Watson’s affair made front page news as his wife Mary and his lover Rayner both had political connections. After Mary found love letters from Watson in Rayner’s bedroom, excerpts from the letters were published in the Baltimore newspapers. The affair became such a distraction that the university asked Watson to choose between his job or his lover. After his divorce from Mary was finalized, he left Johns Hopkins and married Rayner in 1920. At the time, Watson was 42 years old and Rayner was 21. Watson’s affair with Rayner brought a sudden end to his academic career. He eventually we...

  6. John Watson Biography - GoodTherapy › john-watson
    • Overview
    • Early life
    • Early career
    • Family
    • Philosophy
    • Research
    • Writing
    • Impact

    John B. Watson was an early 20th century psychologist who established the psychological field of behaviorism.

    John B. Watson was born on January 9, 1878 in South Carolina. His mother, Emma, was devoutly religious and named him after a Baptist minister in the hope that he would join the clergy. She disavowed smoking, drinking, and other vices, but Watson grew into an adult who openly opposed religion. He had a troubled adolescence, getting arrested for fighting and disorderly behavior twice, and performed poorly academically.

    In 1908, Watson accepted a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University. During this time, Watson entered into an affair with one of his graduate students, Rosalie Rayner, while married to his first wife, Mary Ickes Watson. Watson was asked to leave his position at John Hopkins University in 1920, and Watson and Rayner were married in 1921. The couple remained together for 15 years until Rayner's death at the age of 36. After leaving the teaching profession, Watson entered the field of advertising, rising to an executive position in only two years. He spearheaded many enormously successful advertising campaigns, including ads for Ponds Cold Cream and Maxwell House Coffee.

    Watson was the grandfather of actress Mariette Hartley, who argued that she developed psychological problems as a result of being raised according to behaviorist principles. Prior to his death, Watson burned most of his letters and personal papers. Watson served as president of the American Psychological Association (APA) in 1915, and he received a Gold Medal for his contributions to his field by the APA shortly before his death in 1958.

    Watson published his groundbreaking article on behaviorism in 1913, Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It, often referred to as The Behaviorist Manifesto. Because there was little evidence of a specific behavior mechanism in his theory, many of Watsons colleagues did not accept his beliefs as scientifically valid. His 1919 text, Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist, was more readily accepted, though Watsons behaviorist theories were not fully adopted into academia and mainstream psychology for another decade. Watsons behaviorist theory focused not on the internal emotional and psychological conditions of people, but rather on their external and outward behaviors. He believed that a persons physical responses provided the only insight into internal actions. He spent much of his career applying his theories to the study of child development and early learning.

    Watson conducted several experiments exploring emotional learning in children. One of his most famous experiments was the Little Albert experiment, which explored classical conditioning using a nine month-old baby boy. In the experiment, Watson demonstrated that Little Albert could be conditioned to fear something, like a white rat, when no such fear existed initially. Watson combined a loud noise with the appearance of the rat, in order to create fear in the baby. The experiment was highly controversial and would likely be considered unethical by today's research standards.

    In 1928, Watson published Psychological Care of Infant and Child, in which he cautioned against providing children with too much affection, and instead endorsed the practice of treating children like miniature adults. He believed that excessive early attachments could contribute to a dependent, needy personality in adulthood, emphasizing that people do not receive excessive comfort in adulthood and therefore should not receive it in childhood. He specifically argued against thumb-sucking, coddling, and excessive sentimentality, and he emphasized that parents should be open and honest with children about sexuality. While the book sold well in its first year, some found Watsons unsentimental advice chilling. Two years after the books publication, Watson's wife published an article entitled \\"I am a Mother of Behaviorist Sons\\" in Parents magazine that encouraged the displays of affection that her husband admonished.

    Watson's behaviorism has had a long-lasting impact on the nature-versus-nurture debate, and his work illuminated the strong role early experiences play in shaping personality. Watson paved the way for subsequent behaviorists, such as B.F. Skinner, and behaviorism remains a popular approach for animal training. Some mental health professionals use behaviorist principles to condition away phobias and fears. In addition, advertisers frequently use behaviorist conditioning to encourage consumers to purchase products.

  7. John B. Watson (1878–1958) - Popularizing Behaviorism, The ... › pages › 2543
    • Influence
    • Origin
    • Impact
    • Research
    • Quotes
    • Later career

    John B. Watson was an important contributor to classical behaviorism, who paved the way for B. F. Skinner's radical or operant behaviorism, which has had a major impact on American educational systems. A professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University (19081920), Watson is often listed as one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century; his work is standard material in most introductory psychology and educational psychology texts. Yet his academic career was brief, lasting for only fourteen years, and his legacy has been hotly debated for nearly a century. Watson helped define the study of behavior, anticipated Skinner's emphasis on operant conditioning, and emphasized the importance of learning and environmental influences in human development. Watson's often harsh criticism of Sigmund Freud has been given credit for helping to disseminate principles of Freudian psychoanalysis. Watson is widely known for the Little Albert study and his \\"dozen healthy infants\\" quote.

    John B. Watson is generally given credit for creating and popularizing the term behaviorism with the publication of his seminal 1913 article \\"Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.\\" In the article, Watson argued that psychology had failed in its quest to become a natural science, largely due to a focus on consciousness and other unseen phenomena. Rather than study these unverifiable ideas, Watson urged the careful scientific study of observable behavior. His view of behaviorism was a reaction to introspection, where each researcher served as his or her own research subject, and the study of consciousness by Freud and others, which Watson believed to be highly subjective and unscientific.

    In response to introspection, Watson and other early behaviorists believed that controlled laboratory studies were the most effective way to study learning. With this approach, manipulation of the learner's environment was the key to fostering development. This approach stands in contrast to techniques that placed the emphasis for learning in the mind of the learner. The 1913 article is often given credit for the founding of behaviorism, but it had a minor impact after its publication. His popular 1919 psychology text is probably more responsible for introducing behaviorist principles to a generation of future scholars of learning. In this way, Watson prepared psychologists and educators for the highly influential work of Skinner and other radical behaviorists in subsequent decades.

    In 1920 Watson and an assistant, Rosalie Rayner, published one of the most famous research studies of the past century. Watson attempted to condition a severe emotional response in Little Albert, a nine-month-old child. Watson determined that white, furry objects, such as a rat, a rabbit, and cotton, did not produce any negative reaction in the baby. But by pairing together a neutral stimulus (white, furry animals and objects) with an unconditioned stimulus (a very loud noise) that elicited an unconditioned response (fear), Watson was able to create a new stimulus-response link: When Albert saw white, furry objects, this conditioned stimulus produced a conditioned response of fear. This study is generally presented as a seminal work that provided evidence that even complex behaviors, such as emotions, could be learned through manipulation of one's environment. As such, it became a standard bearer for behaviorist approaches to learning and is still widely cited in the early twenty-first century.

    To a behaviorist, manipulation of the environment is the critical mechanism for learning (e.g., the Little Albert study). To illustrate this point, Watson wrote in 1930, \\"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 selectdoctor, lawyer, artistregardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors\\" (p. 104). This quote routinely appears in introductory texts in education and psychology and is used to illustrate the radical environmental views of behaviorists. But that sentence is only the first part of the quote. In that same statement, Watson subsequently wrote, \\"I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing so for many thousands of years\\" (p.104). This second sentence is rarely quoted with the first sentence. In taking this quote out of context, authors have presented Watson and classical behaviorism as having an extreme perspective on the importance of environment. However, Watson was reacting to the work of other psychologists and educators who believed that heredity was solely responsible for human development and learning. Early behaviorists accented the role of environment, but their views were probably not as radical and extreme as they are often presented.

    Following a personal scandal in 1920, Watson resigned his position at Johns Hopkins and entered advertising, where he achieved some degree of success. He also published popular accounts of behaviorism after leaving his university position. His book Psychological Care of the Infant and Child (1928) was very popular, advocating a rather detached approach to parenting, with few displays of affection such as kissing and hugging of children. Given Watson's relatively short academic career, his lasting contributions in the areas of learning, psychological methods, and behaviorism are remarkable.

  8. What Was John B. Watson's Behavior Theory? › world-view › john-b-watson-s

    Mar 31, 2020 · John B. Watson's theory of behavior explains all human actions as responses to stimuli. His practice of the science of behaviorism, which studies what people do and makes predictions as a result of those observations, showed him that human conditioning comes as a result of inner reactions to stimuli.

  9. Behaviorism | Simply Psychology › behaviorism

    Watson (1913) launches the behavioral school of psychology, publishing an article, Psychology as the behaviorist views it. Watson and Rayner (1920) conditioned an orphan called Albert B (aka Little Albert) to fear a white rat. Thorndike (1905) formalized the Law of Effect.

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