Pavlov Ivan Petrovich

( 1849 1936 )





Abstract
Biography
Pavlov and the Theory of Reflexes
Everyday Classical Conditioning
,
The Theory of Reflexes in Psychology
Further Links
References for Reading

Abstract

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov ( 1849-1936 ), the famous Russian scientist-physiologist, laureate of the Nobel Prize (1904) in medicine and physiology, had acquired the world-wide fame due to his investigations in the field of physiology of reflexes, in particular, conditioned reflexes, as essential constructive elements of adaptive mechanisms in behaviour of animals and human being. His most famous experiments on study of classical conditioning became the basis for not only studying the principles of higher nervous activity of living organism, but also contributed in to development of early learning theories having had a great consequence in promotion of learning-behavioural paradigm in psychology.
As Lefrangois ( 2000 ) emphasizes, scientific career of such famous psychologist as John Watson (1878-1958) and Edwin Guthrie (1886-1959) was greatly influenced by Pavlovian classical conditioning.


Biography

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936) was born in family of poor village priest at Ryazan, in Russia, on 14th of September, 1849.
His school education was running at the church school, and thereafter he had been studying at the Ryazan theological seminary. At the same time Pavlov was keen on modern ideas of Charles Darwin and Russian physiologist Ivan Sechenov, that led him to leave a career of priest and devote himself to science. In 1870 he enrolled in the University of St.Petersburg and in 1875 completed his study with a distinction in the degree of Candidate of Natural Science.
Then Pavlov proceeded his study in the Academy of Medical Surgery, and in 1889 he successfully completed that course being awarded with a gold medal.
In 1890 Pavlov was appointed a director of the Department of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, where he and his colleagues and students carried out the fundamental research on physiology of digestive processes in animals.
This great work had fairly led him to the Nobel Prize in 1904.
In his personal qualities Pavlov was very punctual, organized, and self-rigorous and demanded the same from his pupils and colleagues. In his work he was confident and stubborn.
In 1999, in honor of 150-anniversary of the greatest scientist of Russia, well-known around the world, St.Peterburg branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences founded the 'Academician Pavlov Foundation' to support particular distinguished investigations in the field of medicine, physiology, and other related branches of fundamental science (Academician I.P. Pavlov Foundation).


Pavlov and the Theory of Reflexes

Since 1898-1899 Pavlov began to study the classical conditioning, that took about 30 another years. In general, Pavlov was interested in study of the role of physiological juices in digestion, particularly, in interaction between salivation and functioning the stomach in animals. To put his study into effect, he created and developed a number of special devices and procedures, which allowed him to pick and measure the salivation in those dogs he used in his experiments (Loginov, 1983)
Once Pavlov's assistants noticed, that the dog began to salivate as ever it saw the person, who fed it. Further observations did show, that the dog began to salivate when it not only saw its feeder, but when it could hear his or her footsteps.
These observations seemed to Pavlov to be very interesting and, moreover, this phenomenon known as 'psychic secretion' was, in fact, not studied at all. Pavlov decided to investigate it and try to find some explanation for 'psychic secretion' from the point of view of physiology ( Loginiv, 1983 ). Destiny of classical conditioning was decided beforehand.
The original classical conditioning experiment comprised ringing a bell simultaneously with giving a meat powder to a dog. The meat powder or food was referred to as a natural innate or unconditioned stimulus ( US), which evoked a natural or unconditioned response (UR) or unconditioned reflex in the form of salivation and served for satisfying hunger. UR does not require to be learned because it is already present in organisms from their birth. Sound of the bell was referred to as a neutral external or conditioned stimulus ( CS ), which did not associate with any physiological function in the dog, and it should be learned. Pavlov called such types of stimuli 'artificial stimuli'( Loginov, 1983 ). CS evokes a conditioned response ( CR ) or conditioned reflex.
The purpose of the experiment was to motivate or condition the dog to react to the bell in the same way as it reacted to the meat powder only. Pavlov (1897) did show, that if the bell (CS) was simultaneously presented with the meat powder (US) for a number of times, then the CS would undoubtedly lead to the CR , which was originally initiated by food only, so that over some time of learning the new condition the dog would be able to salivate in response to only the CS.
Pavlov was the first scientist who conceptualized and introduced the theory of higher nervous activity of living organisms appeared to be logical consequence of the classical conditioning. Experiments carried out by Pavlov (1905) and his pupils showed, that conditioned reflexes, as a new reflexive formation, originated in the cerebral cortex, and that any external agent or stimulus from a natural environment could become a CS, if it was synchronized on time with an US ( Loginov, 1983 ).
Pavlov (1905) claimed, that the most complex patterns and reactions , and the most perfect adaptive mechanisms of human being and higher animals were founded and proceeded on the basis of conditioned reflexes ( Loginov, 1983 ).
The higher nervous activity, by Pavlov, is integrated, conditioned and unconditioned reflexive function of the cerebral cortex and its subcortex structures, that provides living organisms with their unique behaviour ( Loginiv, 1983 ).
Having used the method of inducing conditioned reflexes, Pavlov ( beginning of 1900s) suggested and detailed the theory of localization of functions in the cerebral cortex, the essence of which is that the cerebral cortex is subdivided into functionally acting segments, each of which is responsible for analyzing and regulating the particular function of living organism, and they ( segments ) are not isolated in their functions, but, in the contrary, associate with each other in appropriate way. In fact, the classical conditioning was that blessed predisposition , on which the entire theory of reflexes had been built ( Loginov, 1983 ). Three central principles of the theory of reflexes express the basis, on which living organisms learn to behave themselves in surrounding them environment :
the principle of determinism;
the principle of analysis and synthesis;
the principle of structure ( Nobel Foundation, 2001)
' The more perfect the nervous system of living organism, the more centrolizeable is it, then the higher part of it is, in more and more extent, the organizer and distributor of all activity of the organism' ( Pavlov cited in Loginov, 1983 ).


Everyday Classical Conditioning

In fact, the gist of classical conditioning is to learn new reflexes, which, in their turn, could have served as new forms of behaviour at an everyday activity.
Who have pets, those know, that as ever they begin to open a can with a pet's food, their pets are just running up against them for getting some food, because the pets associate getting food with the sound of the opener.
If somebody touched a hot stove and got a burn, then he or she would never do that again, because touching the hot stove was associated with pain.
As psychologists assert, stronger application of classical conditioning may be viewed in emotions, for a example, association of fears, phobias in people with terrifying events or situations. If some music was associated with some strong enough nice or, vice versa, terrible event, then hearing the same music, even in other place, would elicit memorials about that event.
Common shopping may be referred to as a result of classical conditioning, where money is a conditioned stimulus by means of which it becomes possible to obtain some food, clothes, things necessary for living, and so on.
Thus, people observe and use the classical conditioning and its derivatives in their everyday life.


The Theory of Reflexes in Psychology

In spite of the fact, that Pavlov did not recognize himself and his investigations to be participating in promotion of psychology as a science, his ideas and theories played a really crucial role in early development of learning or behavioural paradigm in psychology. John Watson (1878-1958), the founder of bihavioural (learning) paradigm in psychology, and his upholder Edwin Guthrie (1886-1959) considered Pavlovian classical conditioning as an initial and important process in human behaviour, by means of which many forms of human behaviour and its deviations could have been explained.
On the basis of the theory of reflexes and classical conditioning, in particular, Pavlov(1903) conducted a number of studies of experimental neuroses in animals with intention to determine the nature of some forms of neuroses, psychic disorders, hypnosis in human (Loginov, 1983). In 1903 he introduced the results of these studies in his work 'Experimental Psychology and Psychopathology in animals'. He showed, that conditioned reflexes having been the functional structures of physiological processes in living organism, at the same time, could be regarded as an elementary psychological units. In fact, accepting this conception gave opportunity to interpret many forms of behaviour both in human and animals from the objective point of view (Loginov, 1983).
Contemporary psychology finds Pavlovian study and explanation of some forms of psychic neuroses, schizophrenia, and paranoia to be too limited and unduly tied to physiological processes in organism. According to review of Pavlovian classical conditioning by Kentridge (1995), Pavlov strongly believed that all psychological phenomena should be explained and described in objective physiological terms, that is why all outcomes of his studies were built on the principles of the objective materialism.
The classical conditioning is not only the method for learning new forms of behaviour, animals and human, definitely, have their specific methods of learning other than classical conditioning.
Pavlov did not explain all ways of human learning, but, as Lefrangois (2000) specifies, an explanation of that was not the goal of Pavlov's studies , and he was mostly concerned with a study of one or two interesting to him phenomena in details, having believed that studying more simple phenomena would eventually lead to progressive investigations of and understanding more complex processes.
As it was already mentioned, the learning processes involved in and intended for elaboration of behaviour of living organisms are based on the principles of Pavlovian theory of reflexes and higher nervous activity, and even only that had and has a great significance in development of theoretical and practical psychology.


Further Links

Biography

Lefrangois, R. (2000). Theories of human learning. (4th ed.). USA: Thomson
Learning.
The Nobel Foundation, 2001. The official web site of the Nobel Foundation:
www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1904/pavlov-bio.html
Academician I.P. Pavlov Foundation

Pavlov and the Theory of Reflexes

Kalat, J.W. (2001). Biological psychology. (7th ed.). USA: Thomson Learning.
Kentridge, B. (1995). Comparative psychology. Lectures 2 & 3.
Lefrangois, R. (2000). Theories of human learning. (4th ed.). USA: Thomson
Learning.
The Nobel Foundation, 2001. The official web site of the Nobel Foundation: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1904/pavlov-bio.html

Everyday Classical Conditioning

Davison, G.C. & Neale, J.M. (2001). Abnormal psychology. (8th ed.). USA: John
Wiley & Sons, Inc.



References for reading

Lefrangois, R. (2000). Theories of human learning. (4th ed.). USA: Thomson
Learning.
Loginov, A.V. (1983). Physiology with bases of human anatomy. Moscow: Medicine.
( Russian ed.).


175.202 Assignment 2.

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