John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Ivan Pavlov (1849-1935): His life and conditional reflexes story revisited Volume 19, issue 1, Mars 2021


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Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris, France
* Correspondance

Historiography of IP Pavlov and his description of conditional reflexes has been thoroughly specified by the records collected between 1990-2000 by DP Todes, an American science historian specializing in Russia. The Pavlov's intent was to study the nervous processes underlying psychical activity by the conditional reflexes, not the conditioning theory. In his modeling of the higher nervous activity, he highlighted the dynamic and greatly plastic character of brain functioning as well as the functional character of some long-term behavioral disorders in dogs. Far from the Soviet dogmatic presentation of the “Pavlovian doctrine”, the complexity of the Pavlov's thought also paved the way to innovative conceptions in opposition with his former modeling developed by Soviet physiologists such as NA Bernstein and PK Anokhin, and psychologists such as LS Vygotski and AR Luria.