The little Albert experiment was a very famous psychology experiment conducted in the 1920’s by behaviorist john B. Watson and a grade student by the name of Rosalie rayner. Just about any serious psychologist and psychologist in training can recall the story of John Watson and his experiment of classical conditioning on Little Albert. Though this experiment is excellent in demonstrating the fundamental terms of classical conditioning, further consideration on the possible lasting effects on the test subject have deemed the experiment unethical.
In this experiment, A little boy namely ‘Albert’ was allowed to play with a little white rat. He loved playing with the rat, until one day, Watson and Rayner decided to pair a loud noise with the white rat. Whenever Albert touched the rat, a loud noise was played, which scared little Albert. After continuous pairing of the rat with the loud noise, Albert started associating the rat with the loud noise and started fearing it.
The rat was initially a neutral stimulus, which when paired with loud noise (Unconditioned stimulus), became a conditioned stimulus. Hence, resulting in a conditioned response that was not there in the very first place (Fear of the rat).Further, Watson noticed that Albert started to generalize the stimulus since Now, he was scared of anything that looked furry and white (Rabbit, Santa’s beard) like the rat.This kind of conditioning is known as Classical conditioning. Watson was inspired from Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning on the salivation of dogs.Watson even claimed that he would desensitize little Albert, but was unable to do so, because the experiment was extremely unethical and was done without the consent of Albert’s mother.
Ethics in social science is so vital for many reasons, you could break it down to rights and wrongs. You generally learn how to distinguish right and wrong throughout child hood, it is something learned and taught. Ethics can be a tool used to determine why some people act they way they do, it can be traced all the way back to how they are brought up this can impact the morals the person has. We can further use Ethics to find out the truth behind someones behavior and use that to positively change them for the better.
For many reasons this experiment was considered very unethical, firstly the subject being used was 9 Month old very vulnerable baby who’s mother had no idea of what was happening to her child. Little Albert could have suffer very negatively from the experiments being preformed on him and such things may have not been undo-able simply because he would not have been exposed to beneficial mental health care as someone today could. The health of Little Albert was also being masked by Watson because he wished to processed with his doings.This experiment was overall very dangerous and unprofessional and would be completely illegal and unacceptable in modern day society