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John B. Watson
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    (January 9, 1878-September 25, 1958)
    Born in Travelers Rest, South Carolina
    Founder of behaviorism
    Editor of Psychological Review (1910-15)
    Chair of the psychology department at Johns Hopkins University (1908-20)
    Wrote 'Psychological Care of Infant and Child' (1928)
    Received the Gold Medal of the American Psychological Association (1957)
    He was arrested twice in his teens: once for fighting, once for firing a gun within city limits.
    He was forced to resign from Johns Hopkins over publicity from his extramarital affair with one of his students (who became his second wife).
    In a controversial experiment, he conditioned a nine-month old boy, 'Little Albert,' to fear white rats by creating a loud noise whenever a white rat was presented to him. After several repetitions, just the white rat would cause the child to cry -- as would a white rabbit, a white dog, and a white fur coat, as well.
    He never undid Little Albert's conditioning.
    He discouraged mothers from showing too much love and affection towards their children.
    Of his four children, one committed suicide, and two more attempted it.
    His granddaughter, actress Mariette Hartley, developed several psychological issues that she said were the result of being raised according to his theories.
    When he was thirteen, his alcoholic father abandoned the family.
    He entered Furman Univeristy at age 16 and graduated with a masters degree at 21.
    He encouraged parents to be honest with their children about sex.
    He was able to treat a boy named Peter with a fear of white rabbits through systematic desensitization: as Peter ate his afternoon snack, a white rabbit in a cage was placed at a distance that did not disturb him. Over time, the cage with the rabbit was brought closer and closer until Peter could happily eat with the rabbit next to him.
    Apparently, he intended to perform similar desensitization on Little Albert, but the family moved away before he had the opportunity.

Credit: C. Fishel

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