The Pavlovian dog and the classic conditioning

The so-called Pavlovian dog represents an experiment by which the famous scientist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov proved the phenomenon of classical conditioning.

The Russian professor Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (born on 14.09.1849 and died on 27.02.1936) not only received the Nobel Prize in 1904 for the clarification of digestive processes, but was also the discoverer of classical conditioning in dogs. In this phenomenon, a congenital unconditioned reflex through training becomes a conditional, that is deliberately evoked, reflex. To prove that the conditioning principle actually works, he performed an experiment that became famous as the Pavlovian dog.

Pavlov discovered the phenomenon of classical conditioning

Dogs salivate more during food intake. The increased salivation is a natural and compulsive reaction to the food's stimulus - that is, the smell and sight of the food. This involuntary reflex of the four-legged friends can not be suppressed. Now, however, Pavlov observed in his research on digestion in dogs, that in the animals an increased salivation occurred not only during feeding, but also as soon as he approached the dog kennel.

In fact, a dog has no reason to drool at simple audible steps more - unless he has learned to combine the insignificant appeal of the steps with the gift of food. The theory of this learning process in the dog - conditioning - wanted to prove Pavlov now. That's why he set up a simple but relevant experiment: the Pavlovian dog.

The conclusive experiment: The Pavlovian dog

For his experiment, he used a simple bell to help create an acoustic stimulus by ringing his dogs. But this noise, as the scientist observed, did not trigger an increased salivary reflex in the four-legged friends. Subsequently, he always fed his dogs shortly after the bell sound, exposing them simultaneously to the stimulus of the food through which they salivate more, as well as the charm of the ringing.

After a certain period of habituation, Pavlov let only the bell ring: as he had expected, the dogs responded to the sound stimulus with more salivation alone, because they have learned that there is food after ringing. So he had successfully trained his dogs to have a conditional reflex to an irritation that was actually insignificant for dogs. Even this accustomed reflex, the animals could no longer suppress as well as a congenital. Thus, the principle of conditioning has been scientifically proven. Without this discovery, an essential part of today's behavioral training would be missing in dogs.

Again a small summary complacent? The experiment of the famous scientist, the Pavlovian dog, is briefly explained here:

And here is the brief explanation of classical conditioning:

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