Watson’s alleged Little Albert scandal: historical breakthrough or new Watson myth?
John B. Watson, Little Albert, behaviorism
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.
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.
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