Little Albert - experiment and ethics Flashcards Preview

PSYCHOLOGY: Learning > Little Albert - experiment and ethics > Flashcards

Flashcards in Little Albert - experiment and ethics Deck (15):

By whom and when was the little albert experiment conducted?

in 1920 by John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner.


Aim of exp?

to test whether fears are acquired through classical conditioning; and if humans go through the same process to do this as animals.


Why was Albert B "Little Albert" chosen for the exp?

because he was “stolid and unemotional”, and rarely cried or showed fear.
His mother worked in the same clinic as Watson


What occurred before conditioning?

Albert was shown the white lab rat (NS) but showed no fear, crying or avoidance. The hammer struck the metal behind him (UCS), and he produced a fear response (UCR).


For how long did the experiments occur?

Irregularly, over 17 days.


WHat occurred in the first experiment?

the white rabbit was given to Albert in a basket, as soon as he touched it the hammer sounded. He jumped, fell forwards and cried.


What happened in the second experiment?

One week after the first, Albert showed fear to the rat whenever it was placed near him. The hammer sounded whenever he played with the rat.


What happened in the subsequent experiments?

they tested whether stimulus generalisation occurred to similar white and/or fluffy objects - showed fear to a dog, sealskin and white rabbit and some fear to cotton balls and a Santa Claus mask.


Why did the experiments stop?

His mother left the clinic.


Is it clear whether Watson knew whether Albert's mother would leave?

Watson said he did not know but others said he did a month in advance.


Why would the little albert experiment not be conducted today?

Because it violates ethical principles which did not exist back then.


Discuss informed consent.

his mother may not have been fully aware that her son was to be used in experiments involving the conditioning of a fear response.
We are unsure because informed consent was not discussed in the report.


Discuss withdrawal rights

It was unclear whether Albert was allowed to withdraw, or whether his mother said he could


Discuss debriefing

No effort was made at the end to reverse his fear or to attend to his distress


Diss the no-harm principle

Albert was a vulnerable participant in research and was subjected to psychological harm through distress and fear.