The Fate Of Baby Albert Discovered!

Posted on September 9, 2019


I always wondered what happened to him, and apparently so did some people with some serious time on their hands. The identity of Baby Albert was determined to be Douglas Merritte, who sadly died at age six from “water on the brain.”

After getting hold of his medical records, they learned that Douglas suffered from a variety of medical conditions: congenital obstructive hydrocephalus, iatrogenic streptococcal meningitis/ventriculitis and retinal and optic nerve atrophy. At the time of the experiment, Douglas was relatively stable.

Little Albert’s condition has important implications for Watson’s experiment. As Bartlett points out: “If the baby indeed had a severe cognitive deficit, then his reactions to the white rat or the dog or the monkey may not have been typical — certainly reaching universal conclusions about human nature based on his reactions wouldn’t make sense.”

Watson also likely knew about Douglas’s condition, but of course went through with the experiment anyway.

Keep in mind that Albert’s reactions in the experiment are still attributable to conditioning.