By Saul McLeodupdated Like many great scientific advances, Pavlovian conditioning aka classical conditioning was discovered accidentally. During the s, Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov was researching salivation in dogs in response to being fed. He inserted a small test tube into the cheek of each dog to measure saliva when the dogs were fed with a powder made from meat.
If there were water And no rock If there were rock And also water Monday, 5 November Pavlov's drooling dogs While Ivan Pavlov worked to unveil the secrets of the digestive system, he also studied what signals triggered related phenomena, such as the secretion of saliva.
When a dog encounters food, saliva starts to pour from the salivary glands located in the back of its oral cavity. This saliva is needed in order to make the food easier to swallow. The fluid also contains enzymes that break down certain compounds in the food.
In humans, for example, saliva contains the enzyme amylase, an effective processor of starch.
Pavlov became interested in studying reflexes when he saw that the dogs drooled without the proper stimulus. Although no food was in sight, their saliva still dribbled. It turned out that the dogs were reacting to lab coats. Every time the dogs were served food, the person who served the food was wearing a lab coat.
Therefore, the dogs reacted as if food was on its way whenever they saw a lab coat. In a series of experiments, Pavlov then tried to figure out how these phenomena were linked.
For example, he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they responded by drooling Different kinds of reflexes Reflexes make us react in a certain way.
When a light beam hits our eyes, our pupils shrink in response to the light stimulus. And when the doctor taps you below the knee cap, your leg swings out.
These reflexes are called unconditioned, or built-in. The body responds in the same fashion every time the stimuli the light or the tap is applied.
In the same way, dogs drool when they encounter food. Pavlov's discovery was that environmental events that previously had no relation to a given reflex such as a bell sound could, through experience, trigger a reflex salivation.
This kind of learnt response is called conditioned reflex, and the process whereby dogs or humans learn to connect a stimulus to a reflex is called conditioning. Animals generally learn to associate stimuli that are relevant to their survival.
Food aversion is an example of a natural conditioned reflex.
If an animal eats something with a distinctive vanilla taste and then eats a tasteless poison that leads to nausea, the animal will not be particularly eager to eat vanilla-flavoured food the next time. Linking nausea to taste is an evolutionarily successful strategy, since animals that failed to learn their lesson did not last very long.
Pavlov's description on how animals and humans can be trained to respond in a certain way to a particular stimulus drew tremendous interest from the time he first presented his results.
His work paved the way for a new, more objective method of studying behavior. So-called Pavlovian training has been used in many fields, with anti-phobia treatment as but one example.
An important principle in conditioned learning is that an established conditioned response salivating in the case of the dogs decreases in intensity if the conditioned stimulus bell is repeatedly presented without the unconditioned stimulus food.
This process is called extinction.Pavlov (–), a Russian scientist, performed extensive research on dogs and is best known for his experiments in classical conditioning (Figure 1). As we discussed briefly in the previous section, classical conditioning is a process by which we learn to associate stimuli and, consequently, to anticipate events.
Pavlov came across classical conditioning unintentionally during his research into animals' gastric systems. Whilst measuring the salivation rates of dogs, he found that they would produce saliva when they heard or smelt food in anticipation of feeding.
This is a normal reflex response which we. Pavlov himself observed that a dog's saliva produced as a CR differed in composition from that produced as a UR.
The CR is sometimes even the opposite of the UR. For example: the unconditional response to electric shock is an increase in heart rate, whereas a CS that has been paired with the electric shock elicits a decrease in heart rate.
Pavlov concluded that if a particular stimulus in the dog's surroundings was present when the dog was given food then that stimulus could become associated with food and cause salivation .
Ivan Pavlov and his theory of classical conditioning had a profound impact on the understanding of human behavior. This lesson explains classical conditioning and Pavlov's contributions to psychology. Salivation, he noted, is a reflexive process.
It occurs automatically in response to a specific stimulus and is not under conscious control. However, Pavlov noted that the dogs would often begin salivating in the absence of food and smell. He quickly realized that this salivary response was not due to an automatic, physiological process.