Pavlov as a psychophysiological scientist

ArticleinBrain Research Bulletin 24(5):643-9 · June 1990with1 Read
Impact Factor: 2.72 · DOI: 10.1016/0361-9230(90)90002-H · Source: PubMed


    It is suggested that Pavlov was not only a famous physiologist, but due to his work on the conditional reflex, he could be considered a behavioral scientist. In addition his work on experimental neurosis gives him the distinction of being a pioneer investigator in the area of psychological stress. Pavlov's research is viewed against a background of primitive research tools and unproductive subjective theories. Nineteenth century scientists who influenced Pavlov included Darwin, Botkin, Heidenhain, Gaskell and Bernard. Pavlov's research on the digestive system emphasized the role of the nervous system, launched the field of gastroenterology, and emphasized the concept of the conditional reflex. Pavlov's conditional reflex formulations were based on the theoretical formulations of Sechenov, and possibly the work of David Hartley. The discovery of secretin, by Bayliss and Starling, and its influence on the stomach led Pavlov to diminish his work on the digestive system and to focus his research on the conditional reflex phenomenon. Arguments which suggest that Pavlov worked as a behavioral scientist include his conceptual formulations, his research on traditional psychological topics and his investigation of psychiatric disorders. His conditioning research emphasized the individual differences of his animal subjects which led to his research on typology and experimental neurosis which formed the basis for his work on environmental stressors and psychopathology.