Watson’s alleged Little Albert scandal: historical breakthrough or new Watson myth?

Author
Digdon, Nancy
Powell, Russ
Smithson, Christopher
Faculty Advisor
Date
2014
Keywords
John B. Watson , Little Albert , behaviorism
Abstract (summary)
John 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.
Publication Information
Digdon, N., Powell, R. A., & Smithson, C. (2014). John B. Watson`s alleged scandal: Historical breakthrough or new Watson myth. Revista de Historia de la Psicologia, 35, 47-60.
DOI
Notes
Item Type
Article
Language
English
Rights
Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)