John .B. Watson (1878- 1958)
John B Watson was a psychologist who established himself in the psychological field of behaviorism. He was born on 9th January 1878 in South Carolina. His adolescence stage was marked with troubles, which saw him get arrested for fighting and being disorderly. He performed dismally in high school, however with the support of his mother and other professionals he entered Furman University in South Carolina. On the same note, he improved academically at the University and later graduated with the master’s degree at the age of 21. He then joined the University of Chicago where he majored in psychology and started to develop the behaviorist theories (Plucker.2013).
He was greatly influenced by the works of Ivan Pavlov and used the principles of experimental psychology in developing behaviorist’s theories. Several his substantial influences in the field of psychology include the publications of various articles on behaviorism such as “Psychology as the Behaviorist views it” in 1913, and “Psychologist from the Standpoint of Behaviorist” in 1919 among others (John Watson. (n.d.) He additionally conducted various experiments discovering the emotional learning in children. One of such experiments includes the emotional Little Albert experiment in which he used the classical conditioning to create fear out of objects that were once pleasant. He would expose Little Albert to fury little rats which he enjoyed playing with and later began making loud cacophonic noises with every encounter. He then reintroduced the same rats without the loud stimulus and because of the conditioning trials, Little Albert feared the fury little animals. This concluded that Little Albert behavior could be conditioned.
He later became the chairman of the American Psychological Association. He accepted a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University in 1908. He had an affair with Rosalie Rayne and married her in 1921 after he left his post at John Hopkins in 1920 (Plucker.2013). The couple married for 15 years until Rayne’s death. Watson ventured into advertising after quitting his teaching career. Before his death in 1958, he burned personal letters and papers.
John Watson. (n.d.). PBS: A Science Odyssey. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bhwats.html
Plucker, Jonathan A. (2013). John Broadus Watson. Encyclopedia of Education. Retrieved from http://www.gale.cengage.com/InContext/bio.htm