p 8 of handout
[page 86-88 of Walker (1984)]
LITTLE ALBERT Watson and Rayner (1920)

Watson, J.B. and Rayner, R. (1920) Conditioned emotional reactions. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 3, 1-14.

A complete on-line version of this is provided in the "Classics in History of Psychology Series" (U of York, Canada)

  • Little Albert weighed 21 lbs and was 9 months old when the tests started. He was the son of a wet nurse and very stable, having almost never cried until the experiments.

  • At 9 months a 4 ft x in steel bar was used to generate loud noise needed 3 bangs before a response. But on the 3rd bang Albert "broke into a sudden crying fit".

  • At 11 months and 3 days a white rat was given to Albert and the steel bar banged just behind his head as soon as he touched it). One week later there were 6 more rat + noise pairings, after which Albert rapidly crawled away when shown the rat without further loud noises.

  • 5 days later, when shown the rat, Albert fell over and crawled away.

  • Then, while Albert happily played with blocks, various other stimuli were presented.

  • There were 'negative reactions' to the rats, a sealskin coat, a stuffed rabbit and dog, a Santa Claus mask (white) but no crying for Watson's hair or just cotton wool

photo of Albert with Raynor and Watson

There is also an online version here of the paper by Mary Cover Jones (1924) on methods for the elimination of children's fears.