Rediscovering Ivan Pavlov

Daniel Todes’s massive tome on physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), the man who, our textbooks tell us, trained dogs to salivate to a bell, transformed almost everything I had come to learn about that towering figure over my twenty-year career as a psychologist. For one thing, Pavlov rarely ever used a bell in his experiments. Instead he preferred devices that he felt were more precise, such as a metronome, a harmonium, a buzzer and even electrical shock! Indeed, he viewed the discovery that dogs could be trained to salivate on cue as a trivial byproduct of his more important, but less... Read More