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Ivan Pavlov and Classical Conditioning

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Ivan Pavlov and Classical Conditioning

How much has a dog's saliva contributed to psychology? Most would think not at all, but it actually has as Ivan Pavlov accidentally discovered that he could alter the unconscious response of an animal through a process known as classical conditioning. Ivan Pavlov contributed much to psychology through his discovery of classical conditioning.

Classical conditioning was discovered by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist who loved to work with dogs and their digestive process (Encarta). Pavlov received the Nobel Prize in 1904 because of his work with the digestive process, but left that immediately after he discovered classical conditioning (Gale). Pavlov discovered classic conditioning while studying the digestive process of dogs, noticing how they would salivate to the sound of a bell without food being displayed. After his discovery, he left his previous work immediately to study classical, also known as "Pavlovian" conditioning (Gale).

Ivan Pavlov accidentally discovered conditioning through an experiment in which he studied the saliva produced from a dog when shown food. A bell was also rung when the dog was shown food. After long enough, the dog would salivate just at the sound of the bell, without any food. Pavlov noticed he had altered the unconscious response of the dog by making him salivate to just the sound of a bell. The response connected between the food and salivation is known as the "unconditioned" response, because they were already connected (SBB). The dog salivating to the bell is known as the "conditioned" response, because it had to be learned through conditioning (SBB). The same goes for the cause, the "stimulus". The bell at first is known as the neutral stimulus, because it doesn't bring upon any response in the beginning. After conditioning, it is known as the "conditioned stimulus" (SBB). So basically, through repeated association with a certain stimulus and response, the unconscious response of an animal can be changed, including humans. Although, later research disproved one of Pavlov's theories, which stated that the response and stimulus must happen within a second of each other for them to be properly associated with one another. This is not true, as an experiment has shown that making a person sick after eating a certain food over and over, was conditioned to not like the food because of the feelings associated with it, even though it took ten minutes for



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