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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pavlov's drooling dog!

We found this over at Tummy Scratch and thought it was pretty cool - had to share it.

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849-1936), was a Russian scientist born in 1849 in Ryazan, where his father worked as a village priest. In 1870 Ivan Pavlov abandoned the religious career for which he had been preparing, and instead went into science. There he had a great impact on the field of physiology by studying the mechanisms underlying the digestive system in mammals.

Now about Pavlov's drooling dog. While Ivan Pavlov worked to unveil the secrets of the digestive system, he also studied what signals triggered related phenomena, such as the secretion of saliva. When a dog encounters food, saliva starts to pour from the salivary glands located in the back of its oral cavity. This saliva is needed in order to make the food easier to swallow. The fluid also contains enzymes that break down certain compounds in the food. In humans, for example, saliva contains the enzyme amylase, an effective processor of starch.

Pavlov became interested in studying reflexes when he saw that the dogs drooled without the proper stimulus. Although no food was in sight, their saliva still dribbled. It turned out that the dogs were reacting to lab coats. Every time the dogs were served food, the person who served the food was wearing a lab coat. Therefore, the dogs reacted as if food was on its way whenever they saw a lab coat.

In a series of experiments, Pavlov then tried to figure out how these phenomena were linked. For example, he struck a bell when the dogs were fed. If the bell was sounded in close association with their meal, the dogs learnt to associate the sound of the bell with food. After a while, at the mere sound of the bell, they responded by drooling.

In this game, you will find out if you can train a dog to drool on command! Ivan Pavlov's description on how animals (and humans) can be trained to respond in a certain way to a particular stimulus, has drawn a tremendous amount of interest ever since he first presented his findings. His work paved the way for a new and objective method of studying animal and human behavior.

Pull up a few comforter sets, get comfy and play the game. Oh, and try to do it without reading the directions first, K?

3 comments:

  1. Pavlov's experiment is a classic when it comes to theories on conditioning.

    Wouldn't want to train my dog to drool on command though, haha..

    ReplyDelete
  2. hahah...

    i think many of my friends would love to learn the 'not to drool' trick...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've already done it (haven't read the instructions); when my clicker comes out, my dog Tika responds exactly as if I had pulled a bag of goodies out of the fridge.

    -ellen

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for barking in!

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