FIELD OF RESEARCH Pavlov became a well-known psychologist after his work with dogs and studying digestion. He developed a theory called ‘ Classical’ or ‘Pavlovian Conditiong’ . In Classical Conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus (US) is an event that causes a response to occur, which is referred to as the unconditioned response (UR) . And, in Pavlov's study with dogs, the food within the dog's mouth is the US , and the salivation that results is the UR . Paired with the US , Pavlov added an element known as the non-excitatory, conditioned stimulus (CS) . Pavlov used a metronome as the CS which he rang first, then fed the dogs. After repeating this procedure several times, Pavlov was able to remove the US (food) and by only ringing the bell the dogs would salivate (CR). Since the bell alone now produced the unconditioned response (salivation), the association had been established (Conditioned). Pavlov continued to present the CS with any pairing with the US until the CR no longer occurred. This elimination of the CR is known as extinction. However, waiting a few days and then reintroducing ticking metronome resulted in the dogs once again salivating to the CS. Pavlov termed this, spontaneous recovery.
EXAMPLE The site or smell of food (the unconditioned stimulus) causes the dog to salivate (the unconditioned response). Ordinarily a neutral stimulus, such as a bell ring does not cause the dog to salivate. There is no response to food, only to a sound where the dog may move it's ears.
Continued We can however condition the dog to respond to the tone. Simply ring the bell and immediately follow it with food. This should be repeated several times. Eventually, the dog will salivate (conditioned response) at the sound of the bell alone (the conditioned stimulus). The dog has associated the tone with food and has been conditioned
IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE STUDY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES. Beginning of 1930, Pavlov tried to apply his laws to the explanation of human Psychoses. He assumed that the excessive inhibition characteristic of a psychotic person was a protective mechanism-- shutting out the external world – in that it excluded injurious stimuli that had previously caused extreme excitation. In Russia this idea became the basis for treating psychiatric patients in non stimulating external surroundings. During this period Pavlov announced the important principle of the language function in the human as based on long chains of conditioned reflexes involving words. The function of language involves not only words, he held, but elaboration of generalizations not possible in animals lower than the humans.
INTRESTING INFORMATION Not only was Pavlov able to stimulate salivation through the sound of a metronome. . He replaced the metronome with other stimuli for use as the Conditional Stimulus . He conditioned the dogs using a buzzer, the flash of a light, a touch on the dog's harness, and the use of different pitches of a whistle in which the dogs had to differentiate between to determine which pitch resulted in access to food. He also wrote a book called conditioned reflexes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for his work on digestive secretions.