John Broadus Watson (1878-1958) was an American psychologist who is best known for his pioneering work in the field of behaviorism. He is widely considered one of the most influential figures in the history of psychology, and his work is credited with revolutionizing the study of behavior and laying the foundations of modern behaviorism.

Watson was born in Greenville, South Carolina and earned his undergraduate degree from Furman University in 1898. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Chicago in 1903. His doctoral thesis, “Animal Education: An Experimental Study of the Psychical Development of the White Rat, Correlated with the Growth of its Nervous System,” was the first to apply the principles of behaviorism to animal behavior.

Watson’s most famous work is his 1913 paper, “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It,” in which he outlined the principles of the behaviorist approach to psychology. He argued that psychology should focus exclusively on observable behaviors, rather than on mental states or processes. He also proposed that behavior can be studied scientifically, without relying on subjective and unmeasurable mental states or processes.

In addition to his work in psychology, Watson was also a prolific writer. He wrote many books and articles on various topics, including child rearing, education, and animal behavior. He also wrote a popular book on behaviorism, titled “Behaviorism,” which was published in 1925.

In the years after his death, Watson’s work has been widely praised and honored. He received numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science in 1956. He is also remembered for his pioneering work in the field of behaviorism, which laid the foundations of modern psychology.


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Watson, J. B. (1913). Psychology as the behaviorist views it. Psychological Review, 20(2), 158-177.

Watson, J. B. (1925). Behaviorism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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