John Broadus Watson : A Religious Woman

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John Broadus Watson was born January 9, 1878, Travelers Rest, near Greenville, South Carolina, U.S to Emma and Pickens Watson. John was the fourth child, and born just ten years after his parents initially wed (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015). The Watsons were a poor family who owned an inherited farm on the banks of the Reedy River, and who claimed to have lost their wealth in the civil war (Daniels, 2013). Emma K. Roe was an extremely religious woman, was one of the main organizers for the Baptists in South Carolina, and spent a majority of her time at church. John grew up with the idea that both God and the Devil were ever-present and living alongside the Watsons inside the family household (Daniels, 2013). This Fundamental Baptist doctrine prohibited drinking, smoking, dancing and other activities they deemed sinful. The church often held two and three day “emotional meetings” where members would denounce themselves as vile sinners to the congregation (Daniels, 2013). The key tenants of the Reedy River Church were morality and cleanliness (Daniels, 2013). Children were to be exceedingly clean. This may have had a large impact on John’s toilet training, as years later he would insist that children were to begin being trained at six months of age, without ever providing a psychological basis for this. Besides the perfunctory strict discipline, the church also encouraged mutual spying. Church members and families were asked to watch their fellow church-mates and to report back any witnessed sin; John had an older, highly religious brother named Edward, which he often fought with. A black nurse who worked for Emma told John that forages outside in the dark, would result in the devil attacking John and dragging him to Hell (Daniels,... ... middle of paper ... ...cipline. Behavior can be accounted for by a relationship between stimulus and response, known as the S --- R Model (Daniels, 2013). Behavior was to first be observed, prediction then made, and then to determine causal relationships. This idea put human behavior and animal behavior on equal footing (Daniels, 2013). In 1914, Watson published “Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology”, his first major work. He advocated the use of animals as test subjects, and described instinct as “a series of reflexes activated by heredity” (Watson, as cited by Daniels, 2013), along with the idea of conditioned responses as the essential experimental tool. In 1915 John Watson became the President of the American Psychological Association. The following year, Watson began working in advertising at the J Walter Thompson Agency, and began his work with mental illness studies.

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