In the early 1900s, a man named John B. Watson wanted to find out if he could make children afraid of things that normally don’t scare them by creating the fear himself.

In his work as a psychologist, he had noticed while observing children that they tended to have a fearful response to loud noises, which he believed was an innate unconditioned response, or a reaction that occurs naturally without any type of conditioning. He thought that he could use loud noises to make children get scared upon seeing furry animals and objects in the same way that Ivan Pavlov conditioned dogs to drool at the sound of a metronome.

Along with his graduate student, Rosalie Rayner, Watson chose a nine-month-old boy known as “Little Albert” or “Albert B.” from a hospital and began the experiment at Johns Hopkins University.

They introduced Albert to a few different animals at first, including a dog, a rabbit, a monkey, a rat, and various furry objects like cotton, wool, and masks with and without hair.

He didn’t show any fear when exposed to the objects or animals — in fact, he seemed to like the rat.

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