FEAR HPS110.docx

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History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
Marga Vicedo

Conditioned Emotional Reactions - Watson/Rayner  Watson & Morgan - in infancy original emotional reaction patterns are few; fear, rage & love. Something creates complex adult emotions  Tested infant (Albert) for fear with animals, burning newspapers, etc. - infant showed no fear o Later tested with loud noise: he finally cried o Dropping infants caused fear when very young, less when grew older. Due to training? Lack of placidity? Establishment of conditioned emotional responses a. First put through all regular emotional tests - no sign of fear response  Lab Notes: o 11 mo. 3 d: white rat was placed with child, every time child went to touch, steel bar was struck o 11 mo. 10 d: rat was presented, child was tentative to touch. Leaned to touch but quickly pulled hand back.  Joint stimulation resulted several times in infant falling over, showing signs of fear, no crying  Rat alone resulted in infant immediately crying, crawling away quickly When conditioned emotional response is established is there a transfer?  Lab Notes: o 11 mo. 15 d: tested with blocks, no transfer. Rat alone, fear showed. Repeated several times, same reaction. Tried with rabbit, fear continued. Dog, fear continued but not as severe. Seal coat, more fear. All other furry objects induced negative responses o 11 mo. 20 d: not as serious reaction to animals. Changed environment, needed reminder of fear once then was repeatedly seen again The effect of time upon conditioned emotional responses  Lab Notes: o 1 yr. 21 d: tested with animals and furry objects - all showed signs of fear similar to earlier responses o Results: fears persist with a loss of intensity over longer periods of time Detachment: removal of conditioned emotional responses  Wasn't able to carry out experiment. Possible methods would be:  Habituation: frequently introducing stimuli to child  Reconditioning: show object and stimulate the erogenous zones or feed treats  Building constructive activities: around the object to distract Incidental Observations  Thumb sucking as a compensatory device for blocking fear  Fear is a primary emotion along with rage and love. Not derived from anything, simply human nature Letting Go of Little Albert: Disciplinary Memory, History, & The Uses of Myth - Harris o Little Albert = Douglas Meritte, died at the age of 6 due to hydrocephalus o By debunking myth, psychologists develop new insights into the problem of helping in emergency situations o Animals were not 'presented' to him, they were flung, fear was induced with great effort o Eysenck used Little Albert's experiment to trump Little Hans/Freudian physchoanalysis - fibbed the experiment (like many textbooks + behaviourists, shaping the experiment to self-serve) o Zimbardo's film brought light to a little girl Watson filmed, doubling sample size (but this was not true, she already had fear of animals) o Mary Cover Jone's account of her subject peter - peter brought up with frequently crying mother, used fear to discipline, dead sister, unemployed father, etc.  Fear could be fully explained and removed by classic conditioning o Watson taught his own children not to fear anything, while he conditioned Albert to fear  Before ethical psych practises were enforced, they tended not to care for damaging psyches/long term affect on subjects A Laboratory Study of Fear: the Case of Peter - Jones  Part of a generic study of emotions, several children observed to determine effective methods of removing fear responses  Case of Peter = how fear may be removed under lab conditions  Selected b/c:  Progress in combating fear reactions was so marked that details of process couldn’t be observed easily  Possible to continue study over 3 months  Notes of running diary showed characteristics of healthy, normal, smart, interesting child, well adjusted  Case is sequel to Watson's how to produce fear  First problem - "unconditioning" fear response to an animal, second - whether unconditioning 1 stimuli spreads without further training to others  Study:  Peter showed great fear of rabbit (thus fur coat, other furry things)  Peter was placed in play area where children were fearless  Results:  First: extreme fear reactions. 2nd: 12 feet away tolerated. Gradually closer was tolerated. Eventually was able to hold and pet rabbit, even allows rabbit to nibble his fingers  Peter was given candy when in the presence of the rabbit - positive reinforcement, then with other fearless children as well  Eventually fear was removed from all relevant objects - though still not fond of them. His tolerance for other strange animals and unfamiliar situations had apparently
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