Saturday, December 5, 2009

PLN 26

The article “Doctor Watson’s Phobia Factory” by Alan Bellows is about how some ethically challenged, over enthusiastic researchers who are willing to conduct research studies that can have life long effects on humans if they are the test subjects. One physiologist like the one described above, John B. Watson, who was experimenting with a baby, which is probably one the most unethical things of all. What he did was use a hammer to hit a metal rod while the baby was holding a furry little animal, and wondered if this would scare the baby enough so that it wouldn’t go near that kind of animal again. The doctor’s thoughts were correct in that when the rod was struck while the baby was holding the animal it would get as far away as possible and maybe start crying. They scientist would give the baby an animal without hitting the rod and the baby would still react the same way. Then they put a rabbit in the baby’s lap and let it sit there for a while and the baby got enough courage built up and started touching the rabbit. After a short time of the baby getting comfortable with rabbit the metal rod was struck and the baby turned away immediately and started crying. The scientist gave the baby one month “off”, they let him go home and not be around animals of hammers. Then brought him back to the lab were they tested the baby again but the month were the baby was gone did nothing for its fear. Soon after Watson finished the experiment and published his discoveries and he was ridiculed because of his unethical experiment and he was also asked to leave were he worked at Johns Hopkins because of his extra marital affairs. In the end Watson lost his job, wife and he couldn’t teach or experiment anymore. This man Watson must have been very curious in the psychological boundaries of science because he went to the extent to mentally upset a baby for the rest of his life. He also based his experiment off the experiment of Pavlov’s notorious dogs had been conditioned to salivate at the sound of a bell. The fear might have been reversible if he tried to do some thing but he didn’t have enough time because he needed to get his information published before anyone else. No one knows what happened to the baby and if the fear of animals followed him into adult hood or not because of the unethical experiment. Also, why would the mother or father of the baby let some one do something like this?

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