Who is Ivan Petrovich Pavlov?June 25, 2021
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (Russian: Иван Петрович Павлов) (born 14 September 1849 in Ryazan – died 27 February 1936 in Leningrad) was a Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician.
With his work in physiology and psychology, he deeply influenced the fields of psychophysiology and experimental psychology. For this reason, he is considered one of the founders of both disciplines. He continued his studies by being the head of the Leningrad Institute of Physiology. His discovery of the nature and functioning of conditioned reflexes led all research into the field of learning. Pavlov noticed something while working on the stomach in the laboratory. The dog started drooling when it heard the footsteps before the meat was given. After this event, Pavlov developed his work in this direction.
Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiments on dogs are famous. The dog will ring the bell a few times for the first time. But the dog does not react. Meat is served afterwards. The dog drools. Then the bell is rung with the meat. Later, when the bell is rung even though meat is not given, the dog salivates. This is what is called the conditioned or conditioned reflex. Pavlov argues that this behavior is one of the symptoms of high nervous activity, which is identical with psychological activity, and emphasizes that the only valid approach in psychology is the experimental method.
Although Pavlov was famous for his work in this area, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for his research on the digestive system.
His indifference to daily chores was such that his wife Sara often had to remind herself that it was time to get her salary. On one occasion, his wife Pavlov said, “He is someone who cannot be trusted to buy a suit for himself.” had commented. Nothing else mattered to Pavlov in his research. At the age of 73, he took the tram to go to his laboratory and fell and broke his leg as he tried to get off before the tram stopped. “Pavlov was hasty, he couldn’t wait for the tram to stop. A woman who was there at the time and witnessed the event said, ‘Wow! Here’s a very smart man who doesn’t know how to get off the tram without breaking his foot'”.
Pavlov lived as a scientist almost until the last moment of his life. He would examine himself whenever he got sick, and the day he died was no exception. He summoned a neuropathologist and described his symptoms. “My brain is not working well, obsessive feelings and involuntary movements appear; gangrene may be settling in,” he said, despite being quite weak from pneumonia. For a while, they debated the meaning of these symptoms until Pavlov fell asleep. When she awoke, she got up, began to search for her clothes, showing the same impatient energy she had displayed all her life. “Time to get up,” he said. “Help me, dress me”. And with these words he fell into bed and died there.