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Classical Conditioning - Watson and Rayner
The first 200 words of this essay...
Identify one study from the learning perspective, and explain one strength and one limitation of the research method used in the study.
In 1920, two behaviorists, Watson and Rayner, conducted an experiment to explore whether our emotional responses could be classically conditioned. They believed that the roots of the complex stimulus-response relationships where built from several basic unconditioned ones. To test this theory, they attempted to instill a phobia in an infant.
The subject of this 4-month investigation was a 9-month old infant by the name of Albert B. To begin, Watson and Rayner took baseline behavioural observations by testing Albert with a variety of neutral stimuli to observe how much fear Albert had of things. Since his most common response was to play with the objects, he was considered an ideal candidate for the experiment because he was so unemotional.
The treatment phase was then initiated, where a hammer was used to strike a four-foot steel bar behind the child to produce a loud clanging sound (unconditioned stimulus). Albert naturally began to cry (unconditioned response). Then the conditioning process followed. A white rat (neutral stimulus) was presented to Albert, and whenever he reached out
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