Biography of John B. Watson

Essay by njzbdboyHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2004

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John Broadus Watson was one of the most prominent psychologist scientists of his era, writing on applied psychology for academic journals, business publications, and popular magazines and is considered to be the founding father of behaviorism. John was born in South Carolina to Emma and Pickens Watson in 1878. The Watson family lived in Greenville, South Carolina and was extremely poor. John spent much of his boyhood in the relative isolation and poverty of rural South Carolina. John's mother, Emma, a religious individual constantly wanted the best for her family. However, John's father Pickens, with whom he was closer, did not follow the same rules of living as his mother. Pickens was an alcoholic and always drank, he had extra-marital affairs, and abandoned the family in 1891.

The absence of his father had a negative effect on John; he rebelled against his mother and teachers and turned to violence. However, in 1894, at the age of 16, John entered Furman University, from which he graduated five years later with a basic introduction to psychology and an M.A.

degree. He turned his life back around with the help of his teacher, Gordon Moore. With Moore's help, John was able to succeed and moved on to the University of Chicago. It was there that he became interested in the field of comparative psychology and studying animals. He wrote his dissertation about the relationship between behavior in the white rat and the growth of the nervous system. In 1903, he received his doctorate and later, at the age of 29 became an associate professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University. At the age of 31, Watson became the director of psychology at this major research institution and also the editor of Psychological Review.

Eventually, John married Mary Ikes whom he met at the...