BACKGROUND This theory is proposed by J.B. Watson(1878-1958) He was an American psychologist and hewas the first person to use the termbehaviourism to study human behaviour. His research was greatly influenced byPavlov’s Classical Conditioning Theory. Using Classical Conditioning Model, hemade a research on children’s emotion.
EMOTION LEARNING BYSTIMULUS GENERALIZATION According to Watson, human normally inheritthree kinds of basic emotions : fear, anger andlove. These emotions can be learned through theprocess of conditioning. This hypothesis is then followed by hisexperiment, assisted by Rayner (1920)
His subjects were a nine-month old baby,named Little Albert and a white, tame mouse. The purpose of this experiment was to provethat the feeling of fear towards the mouse canbe learned through the process ofconditioning. Initially, the baby liked to play with the whitemouse. However, after given unconditioned stimulus,the baby was terrified at the sight of the mouseand everything resembling it.
1. A white mouse was brought to Little Albert.Little Albert was interested in it and playedwith it.2. The second time the mouse was shown toLittle Albert, a loud, startling sound(unconditioned stimulus) was emitted all ofthe sudden from the back.3. The reaction shown by the baby was frightand fear.
The mouse was a conditioned stimulus whichLittle Albert was familiar with. At first, he was notafraid of it. On the other hand, the loud, startling sound wasan unconditioned stimulus which Little Albert wasnot familiar with. The sound came with the mouseall of the sudden and that has caused LittleAlbert’s fear. Each time the mouse was shown to Little Albert, itwill be followed by the sound. In this way, aconditioned response (fear) was established.
The conclusion made was that, Little Albert hadrelated the sound with the white mouse which heplayed with previously. Through this conditioning process (continuousexposure to the mouse and the sound), Alberthas learned to respond with fear. Little Albert was also stimulated with otherstimuli (white rabbit, fur coat, fury thing) and heresponded the same way- fear. This is what Watson concluded as stimulusgeneralization – Little Albert has generalized thatall fury and white things will make loud sounds,and thus he was afraid of them.
IMPLICATIONS OF WATSON’S THEORYIN TEACHING AND LEARNING1. All types of behaviour can be learned throughthe conditioning process. Positive behaviourcan be taught by using suitable stimulus. E.g : A teacher rewarding her student withcandies (stimulus) each time he sweeps thefloor. The student will adapt to this positivebehaviour because of the stimulus.
2. In order to master the skill of problem solving,pupils ought to relate the relationship betweenall responses systematically.3. In order to consolidate what has been learnedin the memory, more exercises should becarried out after learning (plays important inknowledge retention-long term memory)4. During the teaching process, teacher shoulduse suitable stimulus to motivate pupils inlearning, (rewards) and at the same time,avoid using stimulus which will producenegative effect. (excessive punishments)