Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pavlov's dog

I seem to use the phrase "Pavlov's dog" quite a bit and decided to look up the science behind it - and to see if the dog in question was immortalized in a photograph. As you can see above, the answer to that is yes. Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) used several dogs in his experiments, but one of his subjects appears in harness behind him and another, with surgically implanted saliva catch tube, was prepared and mounted as an exhibit at the Pavlov Museum in Ryazan, Russia. The expression "Pavlov's dog" describes a person who reacts reflexively rather than reflectively to a situation. It refers to the results of the conditioning that Pavlov used to cause dogs to salivate upon simply hearing a bell (or a whistle, metronome, or tuning fork), after repeatedly pairing the noise with a stimulus (food). The experiment paved the way for an objective science of behavior, but it was his other research on the digestive system that garnered Pavlov the 1904 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Pavlov has achieved immortality in behavioral science and popular parlance, but he was well aware of his own mortality. Conscious to the end, he asked one of his students to record his subjective experiences as he lay on his deathbed.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You may add your comments here.