Tag Archives: Pavlov

Pavlovian Conditioning on Film

A film from 1930 on Pavlovian conditioning has been made available on the Wellcome Library website. Originally made in Russian, the film was by Professors L. N. Voskresenki and D. S. Fursikov. The film is described as follows,

This black and white, silent film, attempts to show the difference between conditioned and unconditioned responses in animals and humans. It begins by enacting Pavlov’s experiments on a dog’s salivary mechanism. Gradually we are shown how the unconditioned production of saliva at the sight or smell of food can be conditioned to appear at the sight of a flashing light. We also examine a newborn baby’s reflexes of sucking and grabbing and see how they become conditioned as it grows older. Simple animated diagrams attempt to explain changes in the brain as a subject becomes conditioned. Professor Krasnagorski enacts a salivary test on a young boy in his laboratory. Attention is paid to the difference between instinctive behaviour in animals and learned behaviour. This is illustrated by images of animals in the wild and those in zoos. We see trained seals performing tricks for rewards and Prof. Gladishikov demonstrating ‘the pain method of training’ on lions and bears.

The film can be either viewed online or downloaded here.

Thanks to Jenn Bazar for bringing this film to my attention.

Whatever happened to Pavlov’s Brain?

Vladimir BekhterevThe strange saga of Albert Einstein’s brain was told in Carolyn Abraham’s 2001 book Possessing Genius. (The free Wikipedia version is here.) But what about the brains of famous figures in the history of psychology? Well, if they were Russian — such as Ivan Pavlov or Lev Vygotsky — then they may have ended up in Vladimir Bekhterev’s “Pantheon of Brains” in St. Petersburg. (It has been long speculated that Bekhterev, who died unexpectedly on Chirstmas Eve 1927, was “offed” by Stalin after having examined the Soviet leader and declared him to be insane.) Perhaps fittingly, Bekhterev’s brain also ended up in the “Pantheon.”

See the Mind Hacks item on it here, and the abstract of the Brain article here.

Common Errors in History of Psychology Textbooks

Roger K. ThomasIn the fall 2007 issue of the American Journal of Psychology, an article by Roger Thomas (U. Georgia) presented the cases of five erroneous stories that frequently appear in history of psychology textbooks. The episodes included (1) what Santayana really said about people who don’t know the past, (2) the events surrounding Pavlov’s mugging in New York in 1923, (3) Broca’s 1861 “discovery” of a speech center in the brain, (4) the misrepresentation of Morgan’s canon, and (5) the reasons Descartes gave for locating the soul in the pineal gland.

The first of these, although a relatively minor error, is particularly ironic in the context. Continue reading Common Errors in History of Psychology Textbooks

Was Pavlov an Equal Opportunity Conditioner?

Ivan PavlovThe spring 2007 issue of the Journal of Mind and Behavior, 28 (2), contains an article on whether the famed Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov would have agreed with American behaviorists of the mid-20th century that virtually any sensory object has the equivalent potential as a conditioned stimulus. The claim, dubbed by Seligman (1970) as “equivalence of associability,” was often attributed to Pavlov, and was a virtual article of faith among American behaviorists until studies such as those by the Brelands (1961) and by Garcia and Koelling (1966) demonstrated that different animals have different propensities to associate certain kinds of CS with certain classes of response.

By contrast, in the article “Pavlov and the Equivalence of Associability in Classical Conditioning,” Continue reading Was Pavlov an Equal Opportunity Conditioner?