Ivan Pavlov

Psychology "Groundbreaker"

Ivan Pavlov belonged to the school of thought we know as Behaviorism. In case you didn't know, Behaviorism became a dominant school of thought during the 1950s.  Behaviorists are those who analyze how organisms learn or modify their behavior based on response to events in the environment. Many behaviorists, like Pavlov, believe that observing animals can be linked to human activities. Specifically, Pavlov studied the concept of classic conditioning.  This is based on the associations between neutral stimulus and unconditioned stimulus.  

Pavlov was a pretty unique guy. He came up with the idea to conduct an experiment based on a dog and meat powder. In this well known experiment, Pavlov started out by ringing a bell when the meat powder was presented to the dog. He observed that the dog would, of course, salivate due to the powder. After many dog-filled trials later, Pavlov observed that the dog would salivate just at the ring of the bell. Pavlov had classical conditioned the dog to associated the sound of a bell to the presence of meat powder.

Ivan Pavlov was born in a small village in Ryazan, Russia, on September 14, 1849. He lived during the late 1800s, between the early 1900s. Since his father was the village priest, Pavlov grew up in a time period very focused on religion.  However, he soon slipped away from that and focused his attention on the study of science.  During this time period, many influential changes occurred.  The different changes in science and religion were affecting the balance of society.   Advances in science during this time were growing more and more.  Scientists, like Pavlov, were devoting much of their lives to the unknown factors in the science world.  There were many concepts that involved science that scared people, due to the fact that they were basically unknown.

It is funny to see that during his time, Ivan Pavlov was not even considered a psychologist.  It is even reported that Pavlov didn't even like the psychology field.  However, as we can see, his work had a major impact on Behaviorism.  His discoveries from the dog experiment, and others, influenced the growing behaviorist movements.  Pavlov even received the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physiology.   That seems like an unusual accomplishment for a man who wasn't even a psychologist!  Even after his death, researcher utilized his work in the study of conditioning.  Many of Pavlov's accompaniments were influenced by the time period of which he grew up in.  The reading of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of the Species has a powerful influence on his future interests.  Works like this created during his time, are why Pavlov was so interested in the study of science.

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