John B Watson Essay

1023 words - 4 pages

John B. Watson was a behaviorist in the early 20th century. He studied behaviors of animals and children in controlled environments to prove that children can be conditioned to certain behaviors. “Behaviorism is a school of psychology that takes the objective evidence of behavior as the only concern of its research and the only basis of its theory without reference to conscious experience” (behaviorism, 2003, p.111). Watson is a well known behaviorist even though his theories were not scientifically proven and disregarded by some in the arena of behaviorism (good therapy website). Even though he was well known in his field, I do not agree with his overall theories. His wife and the mother of his two sons also did not believe in his child raising theory.

Watson was born in South Carolina in January of 1878. He led a troubled teenage life, and was arrested twice for fighting and disorderly behavior. He did poorly in high school. With the help of his mom he was able to get into Furman University in South Carolina. He turned his school life around while there and earned a master’s degree by the age of 21. Watson then went on to the University of Chicago where he studied psychology and that is when he began to develop his behaviorist theories (good therapy website).

In 1913 Watson published an article which became known as “The Behaviorist Manifesto”. His colleagues did not accept his beliefs as being scientifically valid due to a lack of evidence to prove his theory. His theory focused on the external and outward behavior of people rather than the internal emotional and psychological conditions which was more typical of his time period (good therapy website).

Watson studied hospital reared children being raised by wet nurses because random children from poor and rich homes became too complex. “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in. I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, chief, and yes, even beggar man and thief” (Althouse blogspot website). Watson tried to prove that heredity was not fully responsible for human development and learning (The biography channel website). He performed several experiments exploring the...

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