Episode 114: Finding Little Albert

This episode of the podcast – first published in Jan of 2010 – summarized the article which details the efforts of researchers to determine the identity of the so-called “Little Albert”:

Beck, H. P., Levinson, S., & Irons, G. (2009). Finding Little Albert: A Journey to John B. Watson’s Infant Laboratory. American Psychologist, 64, 605-614.

However, more recent research conducted by Digdon, Powell and Harris cast serious doubt on the conclusions of Beck et. al and instead point to a boy named William Albert Barger as the boy known as Little Albert.

Please see this episode: Little Albert’s Real Identity: Time to Rewrite the Textbooks for the latest info on Little Albert.

More information on the myths and truths of the famous Little Albert Study can be found in episode 47.

12 thoughts on “Episode 114: Finding Little Albert

  1. This is a very interesting episode.
    Considering the debate Nature vs Nurture, some might say: ” Genetic holds the gun, environment pulls the trigger.”
    Little Albert is and will stay the James Dean of Psychology, an Experimental icon.
    Thank you for your work.

  2. very very good video… I enjoyed it a lot, thank you… Nearly had tears in my eyes at the sight of the grave.. poor Douglas.. he was a really sweet, cute little boy.

  3. The “James Dean” of pschology – I like that. Liyah: I too was a bit moved by the whole thing. It’s a fascinating story. Thanks for the comments.

  4. It is critical to note that the death of Little Albert does not discredit the ethical issues associated with Watson’s empirical study. It would be intriguing to discover how he contracted hydrocephalus. Perhaps exhumation and modern technology could examine his cause of death.

    Maybe that will be someone else’s great discovery. Well, allons-y!

  5. It’s the first time I can access The Psych Files and I feel very glad to find such an interesting content about psychology for free on the internet. Congratulations! Little Albert’s experiment always shocked me in a way and it’s good to see a more humanitarian view of the case. Very good video.

  6. Really good video. Answered who Little Albert really was. Just wish we could find out more, how he contracted the illness? Sadly he only lived 6years, but had the effects of the experiment played any part in his 6years of life? Theres a million more questions i could ask, but again really pleased with the work and answers we now have.

  7. Pingback: What Happened to Little Albert? « KU Psychology Blog
  8. Pingback: What Happened to Little Albert? « KU Human Services Blog

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