Little Albert Experiment Ethical Issues

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The Little Albert Experiment was an experiment conducted in 1920 by John B. Watson along with his assistant Rosalie Rayner. The experiment was conducted to show the empirical evidence of classical conditioning in humans and was an example of stimulus generalization. He used a method known as classic conditioning. Watson was interested the study of children’s reaction to stimulus, which is what led to the experiment. The purpose of the experiment was to see if he could condition a child to fear distinct stimulus that most children wouldn’t. The general procedure of the study was that they find a “normal” child within a very young age group. They placed boy who was referred to as “Little Albert” in a room, onto a mattress on a table. The scientist then places a white rabbit in front of him, initially Little Albert showed no indication of fear and even touched it. In…show more content…
According to their guidelines, this study is considered unethical. The five main concerns to find if studies are ethical are; • Consent – Was unknown as some people argue that the mother didn’t know that the experiments were being performed on her child. Others argue that seeing as how Albert bother was supposedly a wet-nurse and was therefor pressured into letting them perform the experiment on her child out of fear that she could loose her job and work benefits. This can therefor not be classified as consent. • Deception- ; The subject shall not be exposed to a large amount of harm. The experiment caused Little Albert emotional distress and a lot of discomfort, causing him to cry and fear anything furry. This can therefor not be classified as ethical. • Right of withdrawal- As Little Albert was under the age of one and was unable to speak; he therefor was incapable of withdrawing the experiment. Which also made the experiment

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