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Ivan Pavlov: The Life and Legacy of the Famous Russian Psychologist

Narrated by: Bill Hare
Length: 1 hr and 27 mins

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Publisher's Summary

“Don't become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.” (Pavlov)

Pavlov's dogs are to Psychology 101 what Rome is to antiquity classes. This particular series of experiments and the concept of classical conditioning likely ring a bell for many readers and listeners because they have been referenced in countless texts, both scientific and otherwise, and they have seeped into various forms of pop culture throughout the years.

More often than not, the man behind this universally applicable phenomenon gets mentioned in conjunction with the dogs, which only cements his status as a household name over 80 years after his death. In the critically acclaimed comedy The Office, the resident prankster Jim conditions his coworker Dwight with the default Microsoft jingle that plays when a user “unlocks” their workstation and some mints. For days on end, Jim reboots his computer, prompting the memorable two-note tune, and offers his colleague an Altoid each time. One day, Jim restarts his computer, only this time he makes no further movements, and without missing a beat, Dwight instinctively extends his palm. Dwight continued on with his work with an outstretched hand, only snapping out of his daze when Jim inquired what it was that his colleague was doing. “I - I don't know,” a genuinely baffled Dwight admits. His face then contorts with disgust, and he complains about the unsavory taste in his mouth.

The “relatability” of the classical conditioning experiment is perhaps why it is so often used on the screen, both big and small. The aforementioned examples of the phenomenon may not have taken place in reality, but similar ones manifest can be found in various aspects of daily life. When a child is taunted and teased in school, they may begin to feign illness and drum up all sorts of excuses to stay home from school, for they have now equated the establishment with feelings of terror and dread. Similarly, children who feel unjustly singled out and penalized by an instructor may begin to despise and resent the given subject. Classical conditioning can also be subtle, with something as simple as a song being enough to trigger an emotional response. Hearing a song that reminds one of their ex may elicit a sense of sorrow or disgust, depending on the conditions surrounding the end of the relationship. Conversely, a throwback radio station playing a listener’s favorite song back in high school might awaken feelings of nostalgic bliss.

Ivan Pavlov: The Life and Legacy of the Famous Russian Psychologist examines the experiments that made Pavlov one of the 20th century’s most famous psychologists. Along with stories of important people, places, and events, you will learn about Pavlov like never before.

©2019 Charles River Editors (P)2019 Charles River Editors

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