Journal article Open Access

Conditioned Emotional Reactions

Watson, John B.; Rayner, Rosalie

If the theory advanced by Watson and Morgan (in 'Emotional Reactions and Psychological Experimentation,' American Journal of Psychology, April, 1917, Vol. 28, pp. 163-174) to the effect that in infancy the original emotional reaction patterns are few, consisting so far as observed of fear, rage and love, then there must be some simple method by means of which the range of stimuli which can call out these emotions and their compounds is greatly increased. Otherwise, complexity in adult response could not be accounted for. These authors without adequate experimental evidence advanced the view that this range was increased by means of conditioned reflex factors. It was suggested there that the early home life of the child furnishes a laboratory situation for establishing conditioned emotional responses. The present authors present their experimental findings of conditioned fear responses in a male infant beginning at 11 months of age. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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