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History and Systems of Psychology

RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Ivan Pavlov, Reflex, Acquisition

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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
VU
Lesson 11
RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS
Ivan Pavlov
Ivan Pavlov is one of the greatest psychologists of 20th century. His contributions to psychology
formed the basis of many later discoveries in the field. Pavlov was born in Ryazan, Russia in 1849 and he
died in 1936. His father was a man of church therefore Pavlov started off by studying religion. He later
went on to study medicine. Initially he worked as a research associate at Leipzig, Germany, where later the
first psychological laboratory was established. At a very young age, after working at Leipzig, Pavlov was
appointed as a professor at the Imperial Institute of Experimental Medicine.
One of the greatest achievements of Ivan Pavlov was his research on digestive glands of human
beings. When published, this research was regarded very highly in the academic circles. Ivan Pavlov has the
honor of being the first and only psychologist who has ever received a Noble Prize. He was awarded the
Noble Prize in Physiology and medicine in 1904 for his work on the digestive system. As the Soviet
Revolution took place in 1917, the chances of any further research work being done by Pavlov became
meek, as it was expected that the new government would not allow Pavlov to continue with the research.
On the contrary, the new Soviet Government supported Pavlov. The government not only provided funds
to Pavlov for his research, but also provided any necessary facilities that were needed to carry out the
research.
One of the major contributions of Ivan Pavlov is that he began to see the linkage of physiology and
psychology. This means that the physiology of a person, that is the way a person is made up, or the general
structure of a person and his mind are linked up. They both influence each other. This finding of his was
published in his book in 1923. This book was also highly regarded in the academic circles. This was the
book in which Pavlov presented his ground breaking theory, and his most important contribution to the
field of psychology; the concept of learning by conditioning. It has been elaborately explained in his book.
It is actually the explanation of the link between psychology and physiology that Pavlov had discovered.
Earlier Pavlov had studied the ideas put forwarded by Sechenov, another Russian psychologist, and was
greatly impressed with them.
Pavlov conducted a series of experiments on animals and humans. His experiments of dogs
resulted in the discovery of learning by conditioning. His concept of learning by conditioning was explained
by him using the following basic terms:
a) Reflex
Reflex may be defined as an unlearned or an automatic response of the organism to a stimulus. For
example, when a puff of air strikes the eye, the eye blinks; when a person touches something hot, he
immediately withdraws his hand etc. In these examples, the puff of air and the hot object become the
stimulus while the response is the blinking of the eye or withdrawing of the body. Importantly all these
actions are involuntary and a natural reaction of the body towards stimuli. This reaction is what has
been termed by Pavlov as reflex.
b) Unconditioned stimulus (UCS)
It is a stimulus that elicits a natural response. In other words, it is a stimulus which causes the body to
respond to itself, although the body is not conditioned to it. For example, when a bell rings, a dog
which is able to hear the sound of the bell pricks his ears in response to the bell. Therefore, the dog
responds to an unconditioned stimulus. The dog has not learnt to respond to the stimulus in that
manner.
c) Unconditioned response (UR)
It is a natural response of an organism to an unconditioned stimulus. For example, when a dog looks at
food, its mouth starts to salivate. This means the stimulus that the dog has received from the
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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
VU
environment, it is not conditioned, but the dog reacts in a certain manner to the unconditioned
stimulus.
d) Conditioned stimulus (CS)
According to Pavlov, when we combine a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus, it evokes a
different response. This response has been termed as Conditioned Response which is a result of the
conditioned stimulus. The conditioned stimulus is when a dog is presented with the ringing of a bell
along with food. This is expected to cause the effect of salivation in the dog's mouth. In other words,
the stimulus of food has been conditioned using the stimulus of the ringing of bell.
e) Conditioned response (CR)
As the conditioned stimulus is given to the organism, it reacts in a certain manner, which is known as
the conditioned response of the organism. In the previous example, a dog was presented with the
stimulus of the ringing of a bell and that of food. This resulted in salivation in the mouth of the dog.
But later, if the dog is presented with the stimulus of the bell alone, it is expected to salivate. This
means that the response of the dog has been associated with the conditioned stimulus rather than the
original stimulus of the food. The dog would give the same response as it gave to the stimulus of the
food.
Based upon these basic elements, Pavlov put forward the idea of how animals and human beings
learn. According to him, when an unconditioned stimulus and a conditioned stimulus are repeatedly
presented together and they invoke an unconditioned response, it would later result in, that only the
presentation of a conditioned stimulus evokes the same response as before.
In simple terms, considering the example given earlier, if ringing of a bell and food are presented
together to a dog, and these lead to salivation, after repeated trials when the bell alone is rung, it evokes the
response of salivation because the dog has learnt to expect food with the ringing of bell. This is how Pavlov
showed by his experiments that animals and humans learn. Based upon his experiments he also formulated
some principles of learning which are as follows:
a)
Acquisition
According to Pavlov, learning in humans and animals takes place when the paired stimuli results in a
response from the organism and the response is reinforced. That is if a dog is presented with food and
ringing of bell at the same time, it results in learning of a certain response by the dog.
b)
Extinction
If the conditioned response is not reinforced, the response disappears. This process is known as
extinction of the conditioned response. For example if a dog is given food with the ringing of bell and
later the dog is not given food with the ringing of bell, the dog would stop expecting food with it. This
would result in disappearing of the conditioned response of salivation by the dog.
c)
Spontaneous recovery
When the conditioned response of an organism disappears because the conditioned stimulus is not
paired with the unconditioned stimulus, the process is extinction. The organism would not show the
conditioned response as long as the conditioned stimulus is not reinforced, but once reinforcement is
introduced, the extinguished conditioned response is quickly recovered. This means that when a dog is
not given food with the ringing of bell, it stops expecting food with it. But as soon as the ringing of the
bell is accompanied with the food, the dog again starts expecting food with the bell. This is known as
spontaneous recovery.
d)
Generalization
According to Pavlov, when similar stimuli evoke a conditioned response, it is a case of generalization.
This means the dog which shows the conditioned response of salivating on the ringing of bell, when
presented with a similar stimulus of ringing; it may show the same conditioned response as before.
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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
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e)
Discrimination
When a slightly different stimulus does not evoke a conditioned response it is a case of discrimination.
This means that for example, the dog is given the stimulus of the ringing of a bell with food using a
special type of bell. When it has learned a conditioned response, the type of bell is changed and a
similar bell is used. This then does not result in the conditioned response (salivating) of the dog. In
other words, the dog has discriminated between the two types of stimuli.
This was the theory of learning presented by Pavlov. Some other contributions of Pavlov are also of
significance in the field of psychology which shall be explained later.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Methodology, Grading, Course Overview up to Midterm
  2. ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY/PSYCHOLOGY:Socrates, Plato
  3. GREEK THINKERS:Aristotle, Contiguity, Contrast
  4. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 5TH TO 12TH CENTURY:Saint Augustine, Avicenna
  5. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 5TH TO 12TH CENTURY:Al-Ghazali, Ibn-Rushd, Averroes
  6. RENAISSANCE:Rene Descartes
  7. ASSOCIATIONISTS:Thomas Hobbes, John Locke
  8. ASSOCIATIONISTS:David Hume, FRENCH REVOLUTION, Denis Diderot
  9. GERMAN CONTRIBUTION:Wilhelm Liebniz, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel
  10. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION:RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS
  11. RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Ivan Pavlov, Reflex, Acquisition
  12. RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Vladimir Bekhterev
  13. IMPACT OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES ON PSYCHOLOGY:Charles Darwin, Gustav Fechner
  14. STRUCTURALIST SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY:Wilhelm Wundt
  15. FUNCTIONALISM:William James, John Dewey
  16. EUROPEAN FUNCTIONALISTS:David Katz, Edgar Rubin, Jean Piaget
  17. BEHAVIORISM:Edward Lee Thorndike, Law of belongingness
  18. BEHAVIORISM:Albert Weiss, Edwin Holt, Learning, Canalization, Walter Hunter
  19. BEHAVIORISM:J.B.Watson
  20. NEO-BEHAVIOURISTS:Clark Hull, Edward Tolman, Edwin Gutherie
  21. NEO-BEHAVIORISTS:B.F. Skinner, Karl Lashley, Donald Hebb, Hobart Mowrer
  22. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:Max Wertheimer, Similarity, Proximity, Closure
  23. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka, Edward De Bono
  24. GESTALT SCHOOL AND DYNAMIC PSYCHOLOGY:Kurt Lewin, DYNAMIC PSYCHOLOGY
  25. HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Leon Vygotsky, Sergei Rubenstein
  26. HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Alexei Leontiev, K.M Bykov
  27. SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT MENTAL DISORDERS
  28. SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT MENTAL ILLNESS:Philippe Pinel, Sameul Tuke
  29. SIGMUND FREUD AND THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT:The Superego
  30. SIGMUND FREUD AND PSYCHOANALYTICAL MOVEMENT:Anna Freud
  31. CARL JUNG AND ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY:Carl Gustav Jung
  32. JUNG’S ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY:Carl Gustav Jung
  33. ALFRED ADLER AND INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY:Alfred Adler
  34. NEO-FREUDIANS:Harry Stack Sullivan, Karen Horney
  35. NEO-FREUDIANS:Karen Horney, Erich Fromm
  36. ERIKSON and MORENO:J.L. Moreno, Protagonist, Audience, Role playing
  37. HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY:Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Positive Psychology
  38. MODERN TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT
  39. MODERN TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT:Biological Approaches
  40. ANTI-PSYCHIATRY MOVEMENT:D.L. Rosenhan, R.D. Laing, Aaron Esterson
  41. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD:Frantz Fanon
  42. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD CHINA AND PAKISTAN
  43. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY
  44. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:Consumer Psychology
  45. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:Sports Psychology, Positive Psychology