This is not a regular article or short story. This unfortunate thing is a historical event, and despite things we found out because of it, it is a shame in the name of experimental psychology and morale ethics.
Because the question of ethics arises in this one, I would like to assure you that there are far more ethical standards involving any kind of human testing, so please do not attack any kind of researchers over this. This experiment is by all rights illegal now. Nevertheless, for the benefit of the curious and idiots on the internet, DO NOT F#CK!NG TRY THIS AT HOME, YOU LOWLY MONSTER! This article only exists to raise awareness for the general public to beware of their action and the harm they can do to others.
This one can really be painful to read all the way through, so, if you start feeling uncomfortable at any point during the article please feel free to leave.
To provide context to this article, let me tell you about a method of learning called classical conditioning.
Say, you get your favourite dish at the press of a button. The smell and look of the dish makes you salivate. Then, after some time, you will also start salivating at the thought of pressing the button, even if you are not thinking about your favourite dish.
This method of learning is called classical conditioning, and you’ll find it getting triggered all the time when watching television commercials. (I’ll get to that later in this article.)
I am hoping the classical conditioning concept is clear for you. You’ll need it for the rest of this article.
There was once a guy called John Watson. He used to ‘condition’ rats to do things.
One day, he got the opportunity to create a research laboratory at John Hopkins university for study of child development.
When the experiment started, they introduced a cute white little rat to Albert. Albert, being a baby, didn’t know that he was to fear this fluffy looking blob of white fur, so he reached forward to touch it and Watson struck a steel bar with a hammer.
Watson repeated this step every time Albert tried to reach for the rat, till, when the rat was introduced, “the infant jumped violently, fell forward and began to whimper.”
Since John Watson is a sadistic little x, y and z, he repeated this experiment till Albert was scared of all white furry things Watson could think of. From rabbits and fur coats to dogs and Santa Claus masks.
Now, there are ways to decondition people who are conditioned in this way, but unfortunately (or fortunately), Albert was taken away from John before he could be treated of these new horrors he gained. His mother got one dollar (US) for his participation Albert died at age 6 of gained hydrocephalus.
John Watson was fired from university, not because of what he did to Albert, but because he was having an extramarital affair with his assistant in experiments (who he later married), Rosaline Rayner.
John Walter became a pioneer in advertising, and you can thank him for being the guy who recommended sexualising every advertisement they could.
As he said, “No matter what it is, like the naturalist you are, you must never lose sight of your experimental animal-the consumer”.
Based on Karie, 1986
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Mili is pen name of Ankita Maurya. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics and is currently pursuing her master’s. She is one of those obnoxious people who prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it.