John Broadus Watson : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread

John Broadus Watson wrote the book "Psychological Care of the Infant and Child" what ever happened to his own sons?

-- Shannon Johnston (, September 03, 2002


There are many rumors and half-truths around this topic, so it is important to be careful here. According to Ray Fancher's _Pioneers of Psychology_ (4th ed., p. 313), one became a psychiatrist and the other an industrial psychologist and business executive. Both were sufferers of major depression, and both attempted suicide, one of them succeeding in 1963. Although the surviving son once famously blamed his father's behaviorist principles for his and his brother's emotional difficulties, it must also be taken into account that their mother died suddenly when they were both in their early teens. Both boys were sent to boarding school thereafter, and had only sporadic contact with their father.

-- Christoher Green (, September 03, 2002.

John Watson had a number of odd ideas on child rearing that were in the book and a series of articles published in popular magazines. Billy, the oldest son became a psychiatrist and committed suicide. Jim, the younger son, was in personnel management in industry and retired to Los Angeles some years ago. I interviewed him about 10 years ago. He was very successful in his career and seemed to be happy in retirement. He admitted his Dad's flaws, but was not antagonistic or excessively negative. If I remember correctly,Jim's son is a psychologist and has adopted a humanistic orientation. The actress, Mariette Hartley, is the granddaughter of John Watson (her mother was John's first wife). Mariette wrote of the family in "Breaking the Silence" G. P. Putnam's, 1988.

-- C. Eugene Walker (, September 03, 2002.

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