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Pavlov's CR is perhaps the most astonishing book "find" I have ever stumbled upon. As children we all learned of Pavlov's conditioned-response experiments with dogs, how he would ring a bell before feeding his dogs, and very soon the sound of the bell alone was enough to trigger their salivary response. And that `caricature' of his work was that; we learned no more. In fact, Pavlov filled many years with his ongoing research, masterfully penetrating into the hidden mind of dogs, and that is the subject and story of this book. The research reported herein is absolutely brilliant and magnificent in its scope, and in its painstaking "Sherlock-Holmesian" sleuthing-out of the pieces and reconstructing the jigsaw puzzle. But that is not all: Pavlov's monumental achievement is absolutely pregnant with stupendous insights and implications into the functional evolutionary understanding of the mind. Not just of dogs, but by extension other mammals, and most especially ourselves. Ever wonder how our minds evolved, in essence? What their essential conceptual "pathway" was and how it can be understood in compelling, yet simple, non-technical terms? How we can understand ourselves, what we really are, and why? It is all here, not in the faithfully-scientific report of Pavlov's research and scientific results, but in its immediate and inescapable implications. .... It is unbelievable that such a work is essentially lost to western science and the western mind. Because it is of Russian origin?
Built upon a series of lecture-demonstrations given by the author, this book reports a synopsis of over 25 years of ground-breaking experimental research on the activity of the cerebral cortex in dogs, carried out by Prof. Pavlov and his many associates.Read more ›
Pavlov and conditioning are both poorly understood and misrepresented in today's teaching. Learning theory is not in fact the intellectual descendant of Pavlov's work. Work of his quality probably has never been duplicated since. Read and see.
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936) was a Russian physiologist, psychologist, and physician, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for research pertaining to the digestive system.
"Pavlov's dogs" have an almost legendary status in textbooks on psychology. What he did was to perform an operation on the dogs consisting of "the transplantation of the opening of the salivary duct from its natural place on the mucous membrane of the mouth to the outside skin." (Pg. 18) Thus, he was able to "precisely" measure their rate of salivation for his experiments, and condition them to salivate at the ringing of a bell, which preceded their being fed. (Later, he admitted that "This method naturally suffers from fundamental disadvantages, since it involves the roughest forms of mechanical interference and the crude dismembering of an organ of a most delicate structure and function.") (Pg. 320)
Here are some representative quotations from his book:
Conditioned reflexes "proceed according to rigid laws as do any other physiological processes, and must be regarded as being in every sense a part of the physiological activity of living beings." (Pg. 25) "The method of conditioned reflexes, however, gives over the study of the whole of this most important function of nervous analysis into the hands of the purely experimental physiologist. With the help of conditioned reflexes the scope and limits of the analysing functions in different animals can be exactly determined, and the laws regulating this function made clear." (Pg.Read more ›
This book is exactly what you bargain for: a gateway into the mind of a great scientist. Pavlov work is usually simplified into readily digested views, usually popularized during high school, but here is the chance to venture through his efforts first hand. Skinner, Freud and many others owe a great deal to his investigations, and now you can scrutinize them yourself. No better way to initiate your studies on behaviorism.