Little Albert-Classical Conditioning

Topics: Classical conditioning, John B. Watson, Little Albert experiment Pages: 2 (523 words) Published: February 2, 2012
Explain the initial pairing of the banging bar and the rat in terms of learning through classical conditioning. What is unconditioned stimulus (US), conditioned stimulus (CS), and conditioned response (CR)? “Two months after pretesting, Albert was shown a white rat, and anytime Albert touched the rat, he was exposed to the sound of the hammer hitting a steel bar. After seven trials, Albert cried and demonstrated avoidance on presentation of the rat—the conditioned stimulus—in the absence of the loud noise.”(Watson J. B., & Rayner, R. (1920). Conditioned emotional reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 3(1), 1–14.) Apparently, the baby boy had associated the white rat (original neutral stimulus, now conditioned stimulus) with the loud noise (unconditioned stimulus) and was producing the fearful or emotional response of crying (originally the unconditioned response to the noise, now the conditioned response to the rat). This experiment led to the following progression of results: •Introduction of a loud sound (unconditioned stimulus) resulted in fear (unconditioned response), a natural response. •Introduction of a rat (neutral stimulus) paired with the loud sound (unconditioned stimulus) resulted in fear (unconditioned response). •Successive introductions of a rat (conditioned stimulus) resulted in fear (conditioned response). Here, learning is demonstrated.

How were Watson and Rayner able to condition Albert to react to different stimuli such as masks, other animals, and a fur coat? Explain the concept of generalization. “Watson again subjected Albert to noise and rat pairing, but the dog barked in the middle of the session, rendering the session particularly problematic.”( Watson J. B., & Rayner, R. (1920). Conditioned emotional reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 3(1), 1–14.) After thirty-one days, Albert was said to show "fear" when touching a mask, a sealskin coat, the rat, a dog, and a rabbit. At the same time, however, he...
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