JF Ptak Science Books Post 2713
When John Watson began his radio talk on NBC on January 12, 1932, on "How to Grow a Personality", he meant it...literally and figuratively. Watson (1878-1958) is considered to be one of the founders of psychological school of behaviorism, which stated simply is the theory that all of human and animal behavior is derived or implied or controlled by "conditioning" or the stuff that happens to/in-and-around the being, and that emotions and thinking (such as they are) have little or nothing to do with forming the response to a stimulus. He claimed that he could train 12 infants to become 12 different sorts of people--lawyer, doctor, engineer, thief, etc.--if given access to training the infants/children--he never got too terribly close to doing that, though he did with a human experiment with the infamous case of "Little Albert", which is a sodden story of questionable ethics.
In the case of personality, Watson defines it so: "Your personality at any age is just a cross-section of the things you can do at that age. There is nothing mysterious about it--it is just a steady growth coming out of your past." And evidently that means that you can grow your personality by growing the things that you can do, thus training yourself by the stuff you can get done. Sounds a little circuitous and has a strong scent of a napping carny in a big sweaty revival tent, but it did pass great psychological barriers, as Watson is held in very high regard in the history of 20th century American psychology.
This is no doubt a rude and crude assessment, but so it goes.
One thing is without doubt--he did figure out how to create a "demand" for something. After he was fired from his post at Johns Hopkins (for having an affair that resulted in an enormously popularized divorce trial) Watson took himself and his intellectual toolkit and began work at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. He put his two decades of experimental research to hard use, and "discovered" that he could make something desirable by making it familiar and memorable, selling more a positive memory of (or surrounding) a particular thing more so than teh need or use for the thing itself. One example of the use of his behavioral talents was in selling cigarettes. Billions of them. In keeping with his idea, he created a tremendously repeated slogan for a cigarette, and found that he could basically sell the thing wrapped in its memory/slogan layers. The product was Camel ciggies, and the slogan was "I'd walk a mile for a Camel". The slogan could've been for Cigarette X, or a rope, or a hammer, or sugar, or whatever--the object didn't matter; only the environment and landscape created for it did.
So there's that.