Running Head: Little Albert
General Psychology 1001
17 April 2010
In the pairing of the rat and the bar, the bar is used as a “natural reflex-producing stimulus when paired with a neutral stimulus”, (Zimbardo, Johnson, & McCann, 2008). The rat alone is not a stimulus of fear, but when presented with an additional stimulus such as a loud sudden sound that produces a fear reaction then the subject learns to view the rat as a fear stimulus and will attempt to avoid it.
“Unconditioned stimulus is a stimulus that automatically provokes a reflexive response, such as the startled reaction that an unexpected loud bang will illicit from an individual”, (Zimbardo, Johnson, & McCann, 2008). When a neutral stimulus, which does not provoke a response, is used in conjunction with an unconditioned stimulus the neutral stimulus, over time, becomes a conditioned stimulus. “The conditioned response is essentially the same as the unconditioned response except in the fact that it is in response to a stimulus that the subject has been trained, or conditioned, to respond that way to”, (Zimbardo, Johnson, & McCann, 2008).
“After conditioning Albert to respond to the rat, transference of that fear was produced by introducing Albert to different stimuli by introducing these stimuli in alternation with the rat”, (Watson & Rayner, 1920). When an individual has a fear of a specific item it is a conditioned response to that item. Other items with resembling factors are going to illicit the same response as the conditioned stimuli illicit. For example, Albert’s conditioned response to the white rat is generalized, in that any other stimuli that have fur such as the rabbit, dog, and fur coat illicit the same fear reaction from Albert.
When conditioning stops for an extended period of time, “experiments show that directly conditioned emotional response as well as those conditioned by transfer persist, although with a certain...