Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson’s Infant Laboratory

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Hall Beck Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: In 1920, John Watson and Rosalie Rayner claimed to have conditioned a baby boy, Albert, to fear a laboratory rat. In subsequent tests, they reported that the child’s fear generalized to other furry objects. After the last testing session, Albert disappeared, creating one of the greatest mysteries in the history of psychology. This article summarizes the authors’ efforts to determine Albert’s identity and fate. Examinations of Watson’s personal correspondence, scientific production (books, journal articles, film), and public documents (national census data, state birth and death records) suggested that an employee at the Harriet Lane Home was Albert’s mother. Contact with the woman’s descendents led the authors to the individual they believe to be “Little Albert.”

Additional Information

Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson’s Infant Laboratory. American Psychologist, 64(7): 605-614. (Oct 2009) Published by the American Psychological Association (ISSN: 1935-990X). This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Language: English
Date: 2009

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