Conditioned Emotional Reactions

The initial pairing of the banging bar in terms of the rat are as follows, ““Two months after pretesting, Albert was shown a white rat, and anytime Albert touched the rat, he was exposed to the sound of the hammer hitting a steel bar. After seven trials, Albert cried and demonstrated avoidance on presentation of the rat—the conditioned stimulus—in the absence of the loud noise”. Watson J. B. , 1920) Albert had started to associate the white rat (original neutral stimulus, which is not the conditioned stimulus) with the loud noise (unconditioned stimulus) and was producing fearful or emotional response of crying. The experiments progress report results was that introduction of the loud sound (US) resulted in fear, a natural response. Introduction of a rat (neutral stimulus) paired with the loud sound (US) resulted in fear.

Finally successive introduction of the rat (CS) resulted in fear (CR) and learning was demonstrated in this experiment. “Watson again subjected Albert to noise and rat pairing, but the dog barked in the middle of the session, rendering the session particularly problematic. ” (Watson J. B. , 1920) After thirty-one days, Albert was said to show ‘fear’ when touching a mask, sealskin coat, the rat, a dog, and a rabbit.

At the same time, however, How were Watson and Rayner able to condition Albert to react to different stimuli such as masks, other animals, and a fur coat? Explain the concept of generalization. Why didn’t the conditioning last over time? Explain the concept of extinction. Considering the current standards, can the same experiment be conducted (or replicated) by researchers today? Explain some of the ethical issues related to the experiment.

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