Historical Detective Paper: What Ever Happened to Little Albert?
Students will write a 4-6 page paper evaluating the evidence on what happened to Watson’s and Rayner’s famous subject. They will be asked to answer not only the question of what happened to Little Albert but whether it matters.
Length: 4-6 pages Due: At end of module 4 Cite your sources in APA style
One of the major tasks of historians is to put together the story of the past even when there is incomplete evidence. This paper is your opportunity to play historical detective. For this you will rely on the scholarly conversation that took place 2009-2014 about the identity of the baby who was the Little Albert. These historians used a variety of evidence and arguments to argue a number of things about Little Albert. For this paper you will need to read the 5 articles posted on Moodle and then answer the following two questions:
· Whatever happened to Little Albert (i.e., who was he)?
· Does finding out what happened to Little Albert matter?
You may structure the paper however you wish, and you do not need to cite all 5 papers (you may focus on the ones that you think are most important). However, here are some things to make sure to do:
· Assume your audience (me) has a basic knowledge of the controversy, so spend less time on summary and more time on the analysis of evidence.
· In your discussion of the scholars’ arguments for different views on what happened to Albert, be sure to pay attention of the type of evidence being used (e.g., published article, family recollections, public records, video, photograph, etc.). As you make an argument for your view of what happened to Little Albert, be sure to include discussion of the evidence that supports your view, highlighting those that you think are most important for making your case. You should also (as it makes sense within your paper, given your focus) explain why the evidence for the other view of what happened to Albert is weaker evidence or irrelevant. In other words, show your work—don’t just tell me which baby you think it was, show me how you got there.
· You may take the second question in whatever way you want (i.e., Does it matter for history of psychology? Does it matter for psychology? Does it matter for Behaviorism?). However do your best to ground your answer in what you’ve learned about history in the course, not just your own opinion about the importance of this question.