Glossary / Lexicon
John B. Watson
John B. Watson was born in 1878 in a rural community outside Greenville, South Carolina, where he attended the local country schools near his parents' farm. Watson received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at the University of Chicago in 1903. His research was on the sensory cues used by rats in learning to run through a maze. Watson was the driving force for the school of behaviorism, and his approach can be seen in a popular quote: "Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select--doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant- chief, and yes, even beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors" (1924, page 82). In 1921 Watson entered the business world and soon became vice president of an advertising agency. He married his former laboratory assistant and continued to write popular articles on psychology for some time. He died in 1958 at the age of 80.