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John B. Watson Essay

2171 words - 9 pages

John Broadus Watson was a famous American psychologist who lived between 1878 and 1958. He was born in Greenville, South Carolina to Pickens and Emma Watson and was the fourth of six children. The family was not well off financially and John did not have an easy childhood. In spite of the poverty that engulfed the family, John’s father turned into an alcoholic who cared less for his family. However, Emma, John’s mother was a devoted religious woman who struggled to take care of her children with less support from her husband. In 1891, John’s father left the family and disappeared after engaging in extra marital affairs with other women. The infidelity strained his marriage with Emma and the relationship with his children. After the disappearance of his father, John became unruly and confused due to the lack of full parental care of both parents. He became defiant at school and did not want to listen to advice from his teachers. He bullied fellow students and was involved in other antisocial behaviors which were quite unacceptable in the school environment, further more he became violent and even rebelled against his mother (Buckley, 1989).
Watson’s negative attitude towards education did not last forever and it changed after he was accepted to Furman University where he began his training at the age of sixteen in 1894. John’s life started to turn around with his enrollment and the help of his professor Gordon Moore. He later developed a positive attitude towards academic work since he realized that he could at least now contribute to the community regardless of the social class of his family. His academic performance was quite brilliant and he graduated from Furman University with a master’s degree in 1899. He later enrolled at the University of Chicago to pursue his doctorate degree. At the University of Chicago, Watson studied psychology with philosophy as his minor and in 1903 he became the youngest person to be awarded a PhD in psychology (Cherry, n, d). During this time he developed an interest in the study of animals and most of his experiments involved animals.
Watson stayed at the University of Chicago as a teacher after earning his PhD in psychology. During this time he married one of his students and the couple had two children, Mary and John. Watson was not faithful to his wife and often had affairs with his female students at the university. With time his promiscuity became a topic of gossip at the institution he would later resign from the university to avoid conflict with other faculty members. After the University of Chicago, Watson went to Johns Hopkins University where he became a professor and director of a psychology lab. It is during this time he became known as the founder of Behaviorism, a school of thought in psychology.
Watson’s career at Johns Hopkins University was successful and he made great accomplishments. In 1913, Dr. John Watson managed to publish a scholarly article called “Psychology as the behaviorist...

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