John Watson is best known for his shocking claim that he could take any group of healthy infants and condition each one into what he wanted them to be, from a doctor to a thief. His cocky claim was supported by his belief in the concept of behaviorism, which he founded. Watson is a hard core nurture advocate, he mainly disregarded psychoanalysts and the concept of "the mind" and its power over human behavior and instead believed that human behavior was simply a result of their social environment and that people learned and developed through conditioning. He first displayed the power of this theory of classical conditioning with his infamously unethical experiment on "Little Albert"- an experiment in which he took a young infant named Albert and conditioned him to fear white mice (and disconcertingly all other furry things) by exploiting his instinctual alarm at a loud noise. Albert was perfectly content, unafraid of the white mouse before Watson began to make a loud noise (which he disliked) right before he would bring out the mice, eventually instilling the fear transferred from the dislike of the loud noise onto the mice.

Although Watson's sole emphasis on conditioning and conditioning alone as the only influencing factor of behavior is criticized as too simplistic, his concept of systematic desensitization is still widely used today to cure people of their phobias.

*All information on this page was derived from source number 2 found on reference page.*

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