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Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov

“It goes without saying that the desire to accomplish the task with more confidence, to avoid wasting time and labour, and to spare our experimental animals as much as possible, made us strictly observe all the precautions taken by surgeons in respect to their patients.” -Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov was one of the most eminent Russian physiologists. He was known for his ground breaking works in classical conditioning, transmarginal inhibition and behavior modification. Born on 26th September, 1849. He was intellectually gifted since his childhood. He was the father of modern Russian physiology. His intellectual giftedness was accompanied with the very unusual energy that he possessed known famously as “the instinct for research”. He decided to leave behind his career in a religious center and decided to study science. After that, he decided to study mathematics and physics and enrolled himself at the University of St. Petersburg for studying the field of natural science. He discovered many aspects of sciences and physiology through his keen observations that were transferred from one generation to the next generation. Pavlov also has the honor of winning Nobel Prize for physiology as well as medicine in the year 1904.

He did his early schooling from Ryazan church school. After which, he attended the local theological seminary but left it without completion to attend the University of St. Petersberg. He got a job as a laboratory assistant to with professor Ustimovich at the veterinary institute in the physiological department. Ivan Pavlov examined the human circulatory system as a requirement to complete his medical dissertation for a time period of two years. Following that, he was invited by a very well-known Russian clinician in 1878 to work as the chief of the clinic in his physiological laboratory. Ivan Pavlov graduated with a first class distinction and a gold medal from the medical military academy achieved by his research work. Then, he also earned a fellowship at the Academy for his postgraduate work. He researched extensively in the fields of neurological and physiological sciences.

Many of his research works were in the field of involuntary reflex actions, temperament and conditioning. The experiments for his research works were conducted on the digestive system of animals to examine keenly the anatomy and functioning of different parts making up the digestive system. Pavlov’s studies and observations on reflex actions were his major accomplishments in his research works, but the concept which was originally developed by Pavlov and his assistant Ivan Filippovitch Tolochinov  is “conditioned reflex”. Pavlov learnt this concept about conditioned reflex while experimenting on the phenomena of salivation rate among dogs. He learnt that when the dog was given food he would actually salivate when he saw the food despite the fact that the bell was rung. Later, due to the phenomena of conditioned reflex the dog started salivating with the bell ring rather than the sight of the food. Ivan Pavlov was the pioneer of ground breaking discoveries in the field of physiology. He had an energetic personality that helped him develop his intellectual brilliance in research. He died on 27th February, 1936.

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