John Broadus Watson
John Broadus Watson was born on January 9, 1878 in a poor family in Greenville, South Carolina. He was grew up on a farm. John B. Watson was the fourth of six children. He had a mixed upbringing in which his mother, Emma Kesiah Watson who was a very religious woman. She pushed for Watson to be a religious Christian who was expected to restrain from those negative behaviour such as dancing, smoking, and drinking. Meanwhile, his father, Pickens Watson, was a heavy drinker who was often in trouble with the law and did not follow the same rules of living as his mother. Unfortunately, while growing up, John Watson grew particularly close to his father and also found himself getting into trouble. He subsequently seemed destined to follow his father's model of violence and recklessness. As Watson grew older, his father began cheating and betrayed on his mother. Pickens’s extra-marital affairs ultimately resulted in Pickens leaving the family just after Watson turned thirteen. The breakdown of family gave a great impact on Watson, and his motivation for academics disillusioned. Thus, it can be said that John B. Watson was not necessarily groomed for academics. As a young boy, he did not excel in his studies and was a discipline problem to many of his teachers. He assaulted other black children at his school and even mocked his own teacher during class. He even found himself in trouble with the law after he was arrested for violent behaviour on two separate occasions. However, at the age of sixteen, Watson’s view on life and attitude towards academics changed and improved when he earned acceptance to Furman University. Yet, Watson also encountered a series of mentors at various stages of his academic career who impressed him so much that he quickly discovered an insatiable desire for learning. Therefore, at the stage of studied in Furman University, the most much credit of Watson successes can said to be given to Watson’s mentor, Gordon Moore who was responsible for introducing young Watson to the subject of psychology. Watson continued his studies and proved himself as an intelligent student. Five years later, in 1900, Watson graduated with his Masters degree from Furman University. At that time, he was only 21. Watson's mother died shortly after his graduation from Furman, freeing him to pursue philosophy rather than the ministry as he free himself from the conviction of her mother. In 1900, He arrived at the University of Chicago (where his mentor Gordon Moore was now positioned in) with only $50 in his pocket. He worked as a janitor, waiter, and rat caretaker to earn money to sustained his daily life. At Chicago, he shifted his focus on philosophy. Watson took philosophy courses with John Dewey. However, after studying with Dewey, Watson claimed not to understand his teaching, and he soon sought out a different academic path. At first, he considered working on the physiology of the dog's brain with the radical biologist, Jacques Loeb, but later he chose and pursued PhD in experimental psychology under the well-known psychologist James Rowland Angell and physiologist Henry Donaldson as his advisors instead. While as a student at the University of Chicago, he also became interested in the fields of animal study and comparative psychology. He wrote his dissertation about the relation between behaviour in the white rat and the growth of the nervous system. It only took him three years to major in experimental psychology and neurology, with philosophy as a minor in University Chicago. In 1903, Watson graduated from the University of Chicago at the age of 25. At that time he was the youngest person to earn a PhD at the University of Chicago. He remained there five more years as Angell's assistant and later as a research professor, focusing on learning and sensory input in animals. Surprisingly, after only one year, in 1904, he married one of his students, Mary Amelia Ickes....
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