John B. Watson is an American Psychologist and an important contributor of behaviorism. He established the Psychological School of Behaviorism. Watson was born January 9, 1878 in South Carolina to Pickens Butler and Emma Watson. His father was an alcoholic. He left the family when Watson was 13 years old, a transgression that Watson would never get over. Watson’s mother tried to provide him with a better opportunity to be successful in life. Watson attended Furman University at the age of 16. He graduated 5 years later with a masters degree.
He then went on to studying Psychology at the University of Chicago, where he earned his P. H. D. Because of Watson behaviorism became a large part of psychology in the United States during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Watson published “The Behaviorist Manifesto” which was a new philosophy of psychology from the views of a behaviorist. The goal of this manifesto was to predict and show the controls of behavior. Watson conducted many types of researchers and experiments on animal behavior, child rearing and advertising.
One of his most controversial and famous experiments was called “Little Albert”. During the experiment Watson and his assistant, Rosalie Rayner, Conditioned a small child, who was later identified as a little boy named Douglas Merritte, to fear a white rat. They paired the rat with a loud and startling noise. The child’s fear became generalized towards any other white furry object. The ethics of Watson’s research were highly scrutinized, especially because the child’s fear was never de-conditioned. Watson has made great contributions to Psychology as well as Education.
Many concepts of behaviorism are still being used in psychology to condition and to modify behavior through therapy and behavioral training. Watson was a professor of psychology at John Hopkins University. Watson was a very influential educational psychologist. His goal was to predict and to control behavior. He emphasized the importance of learning and the effects of the environment on human development. Watson determined that nothing was learned through instincts but rather the child is affected by the environment.
He felt that the parents were responsible for how their children turn out in life because of the environment that they choose to raise them in. Watson thought that emotional disabilities were not inherited but were an outcome of personal treatment. He believed that children should be treated as young adults. With that being said, he felt that parents( especially mothers) should not show their children too much affection. Believing that it may be dangerous and detrimental to their futures, he also thought that love was conditioned.
Watson felt that parents should prepare their child for the real world. For them to stop babying and coddling their children, and that their relationship should be that of a business arrangement. Watson was more concentrated on child rearing and how it could be incorporated into school the system. Watson’s past up brings and the event of his father abandoning him is what really influenced his views on behaviorism and child rearing. Watson also encouraged parents to speak frankly about sex to their children.
Even though Watson was not as fond of Freud’s theories on sexual psychoanalysis, he did support the teachings of sexuality. John b. Watson was one of the greatest behavioral psychologists of his time during the 20th century. He has made great contributions to psychology and education with his concepts of behaviorism. Watson is widely known for his influences and great researches in psychology and education. Without his many innovations, psychology would not have been the same today.
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