Reasons for Choosing Ivan Pavlov

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Ivan Pavlov is depicted as a principled man who pursues his passions. He was admitted to religious school and later a theological seminary at a young age in order to follow in the footsteps of his father, a village priest (Fields, 2006). However, since this was not his passion, he left religious studies at the age of 21 after being inspired by D. I. Pisarev, an eminent Russian literary critic, and I. M. Sechenov, the father of Russian physiology (Todes, 2000). He then studied in a mathematics and physics faculty as well as a natural science degree. He was passionate and inspired in this area. This courage of abandoning his father’s life and following his heart was one of the major reasons that made me select him. Further, him being in the field of my passion, I know he can set a good role model. His curiosity made him successful in carrying out plenty of researches in physiological field that are eminent up to date. His work can be reviewed at any time.

View of the Work

Ivan Pavlov is one of the characters who have changed the view of this world largely through his work. In science, he is able to prove possibility of various principles that were seen as mere imaginations ("Ivan Pavlov - Biography, Books and Theories", 2017). For instance, his research on the digestion processes of dogs led to the development of Classical Conditioning. His experiments mostly involved studying reflexes that cause salivation in dogs. Pavlov noticed that when the dogs were presented with food, they would salivate as expected. He then introduced a bell, where the bell would be rung every time the food was presented to the dogs. Soon, the dogs began to associate the sound of the bell with food and would begin salivating whenever the bell was rung. Pavlov concluded that the association of the presentation of food with the sound of the bell triggered a conditioned response. Pavlov became the first person to study the conditioning behavior paving way for other psychologists such as John Watson who conducted a conditioning experiment on humans based on Pavlov’s observations. The idea of conditioning was to pair a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus and eventually the subject would learn to associate the two. After sometime, the neutral stimulus alone would trigger the same response as unconditioned stimulus. In other words, a new behavior is acquired by a subject through the process of association (Pavlov & Gantt, 1928).

Pavlov was also the first person to identify Transmarginal Inhibition. In his research of conditioning animals to pain, he discovered that when individuals are exposed to some kind of stress, their bodies tend to react by shutting down. Pavlov noted that different animals have different stimuli tolerance levels depending on their temperaments. Therefore, it is worth noting that although Pavlov was a physiologist, he made major contributions in the field of psychology.

Where the Work is seen and its Impacts

Pavlov’s work is seen mostly in the field of medicine and physiology. In medicine, his work such as the discovery of the function of conditioned reflexes has made it possible to study all psychic activity objectively rather than applying subjective methods deemed necessary (Pavlov & Gantt, 1928). As such, it became possible to study in an experiment, the most complex interrelations between an organism and its external environment. Its applications are particularly exhibited in animal training and the study of animal behavior (Cuny, 2015). Most scientists have also found the concepts outlined by Pavlov to be applicable (Pavlov, 2010). The concepts that are applied mostly are the forward and backward conditioning, temporal conditioning, and the zero contingency procedures. These concepts are part of the classical conditioning research that Pavlov undertook.

Pavlov’s work has had a major influence in the field of psychology especially in the development of behavioral and comparative psychology. Moreover, other scientists such as Skinner have used Pavlov's work in the analysis of conditioning as a method of learning. Furthermore, with classical conditioning, Pavlov has greatly impacted how humans see themselves, their behavior and learning methods.


Cuny, H. (2015). Ivan Pavlov: The man and his theories. New York: P.S. Eriksson.

Ivan Pavlov - Biography, Books and Theories. (2017). Retrieved 1 February 2017, from

Pavlov, I. (2010). Conditioned reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex. New York: Dover Publications.

Pavlov, I. & Gantt, W. (1928). Lectures on conditioned reflexes (1st ed.). New York: Liveright.

Fields, T. (2006). Ivan Pavlov. U. S. New York: Great Neck Pub.

Todes, D. (2000). Ivan Pavlov: Exploring the animal machine (1st ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.

August 18, 2021

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