Browsing by Author "Smithson, Christopher"
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- ItemCorrecting the record on Watson, Rayner, and Little Albert: Albert Barger as 'psychology’s lost boy'(2014) Powell, Russell A.; Digdon, Nancy; Smithson, Christopher; Harris, BenIn 1920, John B. Watson and Rosalie Rayner attempted to condition a phobia in a young infant named 'Albert B.' In 2009, Beck, Levinson, and Irons proposed that Little Albert, as he is now known, was actually an infant named Douglas Merritte. More recently, Fridlund, Beck, Goldie, and Irons (2012) claimed that Little Albert (Douglas) was neurologically impaired at the time of the experiment. They also alleged that Watson, in a severe breach of ethics, probably knew of Little Albert’s condition when selecting him for the study and then fraudulently hid this fact in his published accounts of the case. In this article, we present the discovery of another individual, Albert Barger, who appears to match the characteristics of Little Albert better than Douglas Merritte does. We examine the evidence for Albert Barger as having been Little Albert and, where relevant, contrast it with the evidence for Douglas Merritte. As for the allegations of fraudulent activity by Watson, we offer comments at the end of this article. We also present evidence concerning whether Little Albert (Albert Barger) grew up with the fear of furry animals, as Watson and Rayner speculated he might.
- ItemWatson’s alleged Little Albert scandal: historical breakthrough or new Watson myth?(2014) Digdon, Nancy; Powell, Russell A.; Smithson, ChristopherJohn B. Watson’s legacy is complicated by his reputation for scandal. Recently, Fridlund, Beck, and colleagues accused Watson of a new scandal concerning the 1920 Little Albert study. Hey argued that Little Albert was a neurologically impaired infant (named Douglas Merritte), and that Watson committed serious ethical breaches in relation to this study. Our paper shows that this alleged scandal is likely unfounded. We introduce a normal infant (Albert Barger) who matches the Little Albert proKle better than Douglas Merritte does. In our conclusion, we speculate about how the story of a neurologically impaired Albert illustrates some of the challenges involved in historical revision.