South University Online
Essay on the “Little Albert Experiment”
Classical Conditioning is a form of behavioral learning in which a previously neutral stimulus acquires the power to elicit the same innate reflex produced by another Stimulus (Jonson, Zimbardo & McCann, 2009, p.95). By pairing the banging bar and the white rat, Watson and Rayner were able to use classical conditioning by hitting the bar at the same time Albert touched the rat. This created and association of the loud bang, which drew out the reaction of fear, to the rat itself. With the rat having no original reaction, the banging now caused the reaction to be the same in the presence of the rat.
Unconditioned stimulus is when we naturally react to a stimulus such as the loud bang that Albert responded to. Conditioned is basically a learned reaction to something that normally would not have a reaction at all and is just neutral, like how Albert reacted the same when seeing the rat as he did when hearing the loud bang from the bar being hit. When Albert learned to react to the rat as he did to the loud bang he was producing a conditional response. A response that would normally not be there unless associated with other stimuli.
Watson and Rayner were able to condition Albert to react to other stimuli by stimulus generalization. Stimulus generalization is the extension of a learned response to stimuli that are similar to the conditioned stimulus (Johnson et al., 2009, p.98). When they showed the rat and other conditioned stimuli (rabbit, dog, seal fur coat and Santa Clause mask) they used animals and items of similarity. The conditioned stimuli where all white and fury and more than one where animals and Albert’s reactions were the same to these other stimuli without the loud bang because it was not specifically a rat he was afraid of. Albert was responding to the similarities they held, being white and fury, he was...