Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (September 14, 1849 – February 27, 1936)

File:Ivan Pavlov (Nobel).png
File:Ivan Pavlov (Nobel).png
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was born on September 14, 1849, in Ryazan, where his father, Peter Dmitrievich Pavlov, was a village priest. He was educated first at the church school in Ryazan and then at the theological seminary. Pavlov is a Nobel Prize winning physician and Psychologist, who first discovered classical conditioning. He considered himself a structuralist, not a psychologist. In 1870, he enrolled in the physics and mathematics faculty to take the course in natural science. He became passionately absorbed with physiology. In 1875, Pavlov completed his course with an outstanding record and received the degree of Candidate of Natural Sciences.

In the 1890's, Pavlov was investigating the gastric function of dogs by externalizing a salivary gland so he could collect, measure, and analyze the saliva and what response it had to food under different conditions. He noticed that the dogs tended to salivate before food was actually delivered to their mouths, and set out to investigate this "psychic secretion", as he called it. He carried out a series of experiments while changing the stimuli before the dogs were presented with food. His discoveries made him a highly regarded man by the Soviet government, and even Lenin himself helped Pavlov in regard. He died in Leningrad in 1936. Conscious until his very last moment, Pavlov asked one of his students to sit beside his bed and to record the circumstances of his dying. He wanted to create unique evidence of subjective experiences of this terminal phase of life.

Pavlov's dog experiment introduced the basic features of classical conditioning to the world of psychology. Before conditioning, the food (UCS) naturally elicits salivation without prior learning (UCR). A tone from a tuning fork is a neutral stimulus because it produces no conditioned response prior to learning and, therefore, has no effect on the dogs. During the initial learning stage of acquisition, the tone is paired with the food, which continues to elicit a salivation response. Through it's association with the food, the previously neutral tone becomes a CS and salivation becomes a CR.

Link to experiment: Pavlov's dogs

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