As a college student, B. He had hoped to become a novelist, and majored in English. Then, in , when he was twenty-three, he read an essay by H. Wells about the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov. That unexplored world was the mechanics of the human brain. Pavlov had noticed, in his research on the digestive system of dogs, that they drooled as soon as they saw the white lab coats of the people who fed them. Pavlov had formulated a basic psychological principle—one that also applied to human beings—and discovered an objective way to measure how it worked. Skinner was enthralled. Two years after reading the Times Magazine piece, he attended a lecture that Pavlov delivered at Harvard and obtained a signed picture, which adorned his office wall for the rest of his life.
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist best known in psychology for his discovery of classical conditioning. During his studies on the digestive systems of dogs, Pavlov noted that the animals salivated naturally upon the presentation of food. However, he also noted that the animals began to salivate whenever they saw the white lab coat of an experimental assistant. It was through this observation that Pavlov discovered that by associating the presentation of food with the lab assistant, a conditioned response occurred. This discovery had a reverberating influence on psychology. Pavlov was also able to demonstrate that the animals could be conditioned to salivate to the sound of a tone as well. Pavlov's discovery had a major influence on other thinkers including John B.
Classical conditioning also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus e. It also refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response e. It is distinct from operant conditioning also called instrumental conditioning , through which the strength of a voluntary behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment.
By Saul McLeod , updated Like many great scientific advances, Pavlovian conditioning aka classical conditioning was discovered accidentally. During the s, Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov was researching salivation in dogs in response to being fed.