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Ivan Pavlov - Psychology and LearningIvan Pavlov - Psychology and Learning


Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)


Russian psychologist and physiologist.

Famous for his idea of the “conditioned reflex” where behaviour is changed through training or conditioning (see point 1).

Winner of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in 1904


His most famous book is…

Conditioned Reflexes (1927).


Why is he so important to psychology and learning?


Ivan Pavlov - Psychology and Learning

1. Classical conditioning

Pavlov discovered that you can train people by conditioning them to respond to a particular stimulus.

For example, in his famous experiments with dogs (pictured right is one of them) , he stimulated them to salivate after hearing a ticking metronome before they received any food.

Such conditioning is more controversial, if it is used to brainwash people against their will.

In his Little Albert Experiment , the American psychologist, John Watson (1878-1958) (pictured right below) controversially conditioned a young child to fear a white rat by accompanying the sight of one with a loud bang.Ivan Pavlov - Psychology and Learning

Watson once said that he could take 12 infants and train them to become whatever kind of person he wanted.


2. Behaviourism (or behavioural psychology)

This believes that people’s learning and behaviour can be affected by their environment and education.

 Ivan Pavlov - Psychology and Learning

3. Mental health

Conditioning is used to remove fears and phobias by associating them with pleasant experiences.

Addictions (like smoking) can be cured by relating them to something nasty.


Key quotes on science

Facts are the air of scientists.

Learn the ABC of science before you try to ascend the summit.


Key quote on learning

 Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.


Key quote on success

Be passionate in your work and in your searching.


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