Skip to main content
Chemistry LibreTexts

Removal of Fears

  • Page ID
  • 02_06b_02.jpg


    The Removal of Fears

    Mary Cover Jones was a student and a friend of Watson’s. Realizing the effect Watson imposed onto Little Albert, she wondered if she could reverse the procedure. She met a three-year-old boy named “Peter” who was terrified of rabbits. She brought Peter into the room with the rabbit being far enough away, but close enough, so he could see it. She then gave the child some of his favorite food where he was standing. Little-by-little she moved the rabbit closer. Each time that Peter walked toward the rabbit, she gave him more of his favorite food. The process was about associating pleasure with the feared object (in this case rabbits). It worked! Peter lost his fear of rabbits.

    Fears of all kinds—snakes, lizards, dogs, etc. are called phobias. Phobias cause a good deal of anxiety and make many people’s lives very miserable. Mary Cover Jones’ method of removing fear is still used quite successfully today.

    Mary Cover Jones A pioneer of behavior therapy within a scientific field dominated throughout much of the 20th century by male scientists.

    Phobias An exaggerated; usually illogical fear such as of heights, animals, the dark, etc. that causes much anxiety.