Little Albert Almost every Introductory Psychology textbook written in the last 50 years mentions Watson’s work with the infant Albert. Why? What is the theoretical point made by this work that is so important that virtually every textbook author would consider it essential for newcomers in the field to know about it?
The Little Albert Experiment demonstrated that classical conditioning—the association of a particular stimulus or behavior with an unrelated stimulus or behavior—works in human beings. This was a big leap in psychology as it helped behaviourist prove their point that nature has an effect on the development. In the experiment, psychologist John Watson was able to condition a previously unafraid baby to become afraid of a rat. Classical conditioning plays a central role in the development of fears and associations. Some phobias may be due at least in part to classical conditioning. For example, a person who associates leaving the home with being abused by his/her parents might develop agoraphobia.