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John Broadus Watson

Watson, John Broadus, 1878–1958, American psychologist, b. Greenville, S.C. He taught (1903–8) at the Univ. of Chicago and was professor and director (1908–20) of the psychological laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Watson emphasized the study of observable behavior, rejecting introspection and theories of the unconscious mind. He originated the school of psychology known as behaviorism, in which behavior is described in terms of physiological responses to stimuli. Watson's work influenced B. F. Skinner in his groundbreaking studies of operant conditioning, and had a major impact on the development of behavior therapy. His writings include Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist (1919, repr. 1983), Behaviorism (1925, repr. 1970), and Psychological Care of Infant and Child (1928, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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