Pavlov was born in Ryazan, Russia on September 14, 1849. His full, birth name is
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. Pavlov was educated at the University of Saint Petersburg
and at the Military Medical Academy, also in St. Petersburg.
From 1884 to 1886, Pavlov studied in Breslau (now Wroclaw, Poland) and
Leipzig, Germany. Pavlov began to serve as director of the department of
physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine and as a professor of
medicine at the Military Medical Academy before the start of the Russian
Revolution. Although he opposed Communism, Pavlov was allowed to
continue his research in physiology in a lab built by the Soviet Government in
1935. It was in this laboratory that Pavlov begun his famous experiments on dogs.
Pavlov used his amazing surgical abilities to create an artificial exterior pouch in a
Dog’s stomach. With this, he experimented on nervous stimulation of gastric
secretions. This experiment led to Pavlov’s discovery of the conditioned reflex.
Pavlov put this new discovery to a test by ringing a bell each time a dog
was fed. He showed that the dog would salivate at the sound of the bell, even when
there was no food present. This experiment proved that when a dog thought that he
was going to be fed, he would experience a natural flow of saliva.
Pavlov’s work on dogs had an influence on the development of physiology
oriented theories of psychology during the early 20th century. Pavlov had invented
new techniques of surgery and his work had also led to new methods of treating
mental illness. In 1904, Pavlov won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for
all of the work that he had done on digestive glands.
Pavlov was a great historic figure in both psychology and physiology. He died on