John Broadus Watson

John Broadus Watson (1878–1958) is widely acknowledged to be the founder of behaviorism—an objective, natural science approach to psychology and one of the most important developments in the history of psychology. Yet, beyond a paragraph or two in textbooks, Watson is barely visible in modern psychology. What does appear is often more caricature than history—fragments of academic folklore introduced, only to be dismissed as components of an allegedly ill-conceived diversion on a journey to some supposedly superior viewpoint. A legitimate examination of Watson's work shows him to be a sophisticated scientist who fused functionalist psychology, pragmatism (America's homegrown philosophy), Russian studies of the reflex, and experimental physiology into a philosophy of psychology still flourishing almost a century later. Watson's lifespan developmental approach to all ...

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