Russian physiologist; conducted famous experiment demonstrating conditioned reflex in dogs.
Inscribed copy of Ivan Pavlov’s 1909 lecture at the 12th Congress of Russian natural Scientists and Physicians in Moscow entitled “Natural Science and the Brain” in which he discusses animal adaptation to its external environment and conditioned reflex.
Ivan Pavlov has written, in French, “Hommage de l’auteur,” at the top of the cover of the 48 page booklet published in Wiesbaden, 1910. The text is in German. The lecture is nineteen pages long, the remaining pages containing announcements of other books for sale by the publisher.
In 1910, this lecture was also published in “In Memory of Darwin,” a collection of essays honoring the 100th anniversary of Darwin’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the publication of his On the Origin of Species. While not mentioning Darwin or his theory of evolution by name, Ivan Pavlov claims that only an experimental study of animal adaptation to the external environment can produce scientific knowledge on the elementary modes of behavior. Pavlov says (page 5) that “psychology up to now still is the realization of the inner world of humans in search of their own, real methods. And the physiologist undertook the ungrateful task to guess the inner world of the animals. From this it is not difficult to understand that the study of the most complicated part of central nervous system of the higher animals is up to now still not regularly and continuously progressing. This research is approximately one hundred years old.”
Ivan Pavlov speaks on the conditioned reflex which German physiologist Hermann von Helmholz (1821-1894) had referred to in his writings as “unconscious conclusion” (Page 14). In part, “evidently what the genius Helmholtz referred to as ‘unconscious conclusion’ corresponds to the mechanisms of the conditioned reflex. When, for example, the physiologist says that for the formation of the conception of the actual size of an object there is necessary a certain length of the image on the retina and a certain action of the internal and external muscle of the eye, he is stating the mechanism of the conditioned reflex. When a certain combination of stimuli, arising from the retina and ocular muscles, coincides several times with the tactile stimulus of a body of certain size, this combination comes to play the role of a signal, and becomes the conditioned stimulation for the real size of the object. From this hardly contestable point of view, the fundamental facts of the psychological part of the physiological optics i physiologically nothing else than a series of conditioned reflexes, i.e., a series of elementary facts concerning the complicated activity of the eye analyzer.”
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