Ep 223: Little Albert's Real Identity - Time to Rewrite the Textbooks

Jul 24, 2014, 05:52 PM

What was the name of that baby in John Watson's famous videos in which he attempts to demonstrate that fears can be acquired through conditioning (pairing a loud noise with a furry animal)? A few years ago we were presented with information indicating that a boy named Douglas Merrite was the true identity of "Little Albert". The data looked pretty convincing at that time. However, a few pieces of that data simply did not fit together for researchers Nancy Digdon, Russell Powell and Ben Harris.

After another lengthy search into the past, these researchers determined that another child fits the description and the facts of who "Little Albert" really was and that boy's name is William Albert Barger. As is often true in life, the simple facts require fewer leaps in logic and these facts make the conclusion that William Albert is "Little Albert" inescapable.

In this episode I lay out some of these facts and I think you'll be convinced as well. One of those facts: unfortunately, William Albert Barger died in 2007 so although we weren't able to talk with him, it appears that he lead a full and rewarding life.