Ivan Petrovich Pavlov

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Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov ( Russian Иван Петрович Павлов ., Scientific transliteration Ivan Petrovich Pavlov , born September 14, jul. / 26. September  1849 greg. In Ryazan ; † 27. February 1936 in Leningrad ) was a Russian physician and physiologist . He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for his work on the digestive glands . Furthermore, he worked out important foundations for behavioral research and thus laid the foundation for behavioral learning theories . The best-known bearer of his name is probably the Pavlovian dog , on which he demonstrated classical conditioning .


IP Pavlov's home and home, Ryazan

Pavlov spent his childhood, school and apprenticeship up to university studies in Ryazan, the capital of the then governorate , southeast of Moscow on the Volga tributary Oka . His father worked at one of the more than twenty Russian Orthodox churches in the city. From 1860 to 1864 he attended the spiritual school and the spiritual seminary for the next five years. What he particularly appreciated about his teachers at the time was that they gave him the opportunity to follow his individual inclinations.

Even then he was a reader of the progressive magazine Sowremennik ('Zeitgenosse'). Under the influence of the literature of the 1960s ( Belinsky , Tschernyschewski , Herzen , Dobroljubow , but especially Pissarew ) his interest turned to the natural sciences. Reading Lewes Physiology of common life and the publications by Ludwig Büchner , Jakob Moleschott ( Physiological Sketchbook , published in Russian in 1863) and Carl Vogt also contributed to this. As a 17-year-old Pavlov Ivan Mikhailovich Setschenows , since 1860 associate professor at the Medical and Surgical Academy in Petersburg, had read the writing The Reflexes of the Brain (1863; temporarily confiscated), a suggestion for his later investigations into the higher nervous activity of animals.

In 1870 Pavlov moved to St. Petersburg like his brother Dmitri to study at the University of St. Petersburg . First he registered at the law faculty, but after 17 days he switched to the physics and mathematics faculty. The brothers kept their heads above water with tutoring during their studies. After a year of study, Pavlov took his first exam from Mendeleev , who had discovered the periodic system in 1869. At physiologists were significantly Filipp Ovsyannikov Vasilyevich (1827-1906), of the existence of the vasomotor center had shown and the brothers E. and IF Cyon that by speeding up the heart rate sympathetic had explored. From 1873, Pavlov worked on a special topic in their laboratory. Pavlov's first scientific lecture took place in 1874 before the Petersburg Society of Natural Scientists, where he reported on the results of his research. In 1875 he received his doctorate as a candidate in the natural sciences .

In the fall of 1875, the now 26-year-old enrolled in the course of the Imperial Military Medical Academy (WMA) , not to become a doctor, but to qualify for a chair in physiology . His new teacher was Konstantin Nikolajewitsch Ustimowitsch , whose laboratory was one of the first in Russia to be devoted to experimental physiology. In 1876 he was Ustimowitsch's laboratory assistant in the physiology department of the veterinary institute of the WMA in St. Peterburg. Ustimowitsch made it possible for Pavlov to visit Rudolf Heidenhain in Germany. Pavlov's work here dealt with the proof of the accommodation mechanism of the blood vessels, published in German in " Pflüger's archive for the entire physiology". In 1878 Sergei Petrovich Botkin invited him to his physiology laboratory as head of the clinic. In 1879 he completed his studies at the WMA with a gold medal, combined with a scholarship. In 1883 he was with his thesis The centrifugal nerves of the heart to the Doctor of Science doctorate.

After receiving his doctorate, Pavlov studied in Germany from 1884 to 1886 with the physiologists Carl Ludwig in Leipzig and Rudolf Heidenhain in Breslau . As a student of Ludwig, he first turned to research into the control of the heart by the nervous system. In 1886 he returned to St. Petersburg. After an unsuccessful application for the chair of physiology at the University of St. Petersburg, he was offered chairs for pharmacology at the University of Tomsk and the University of Warsaw , which he refused. In 1890 he became professor of pharmacology at the WMA.

In 1891 Pavlov accepted the invitation to set up and manage the new physiology laboratory at the Imperial Institute for Experimental Medicine (IEM) in St. Petersburg. Under his leadership (until 1936) this laboratory became one of the most important centers for physiological research. In 1895 he received the chair for physiology at the WMA. Since his habilitation in 1890 and also during his time at Heidenhain in Breslau, his main area of ​​research was the digestive tract, in particular digestive physiology, the associated internal secretion and its neural control. In addition, he mainly researched the reflex functions of gastric and saliva secretion. In 1903 he received the Cothenius Medal of the Leopoldina, in 1908 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences .

After the October Revolution , Pavlov 1919–1920 had to survive without state funding for himself and his employees. He turned down an offer from Sweden to set up an institute for him in Stockholm . Eventually he was honored by Lenin in 1921 , which secured his future. In 1923 and 1929 he visited the USA . In 1907 he became a foreign member of the Royal Society and an honorary member ( Honorary Felloe ) of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and in 1911 a corresponding member of the Académie des sciences . In 1925 Pavlov was elected a member of the Leopoldina . Since 1932 he was a member of the American Philosophical Society .

In 1925 Pavlov's laboratory became the Institute of Physiology of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AN-SSSR) with Pavlov as its director (until his death). In 1926, on Pavlov's initiative, a biological station was built outside Leningrad in Koltuschi near Vesevoloschsk , which became a research campus with first-class physiology laboratories. The Genetics Laboratory was one of the first buildings to be built there in 1933 (architect IF Bespalow). Busts of René Descartes , Gregor Mendel and Iwan Setschenow were placed in front of this laboratory .

Pavlov remained critical of the Soviet system . When priest sons were excluded from the WMA in 1924, he left the chair of physiology in protest, pointing out that he himself was a priest's son. In 1927 he sent a protest letter to Stalin about the treatment of intellectuals. In 1934, after the Kirov murder, he wrote letters to Molotov for several friends. He kept his confessor Sampson Sievers .

Pavlov was buried in the Leningrad Volkovo Cemetery. His Institute of Physiology now bears his name, and his bust stands in front of the Genetics Laboratory in Koltuschi, where the bust of Charles Darwin was also erected in 1950 . Pavlov's successor as director of the institute was Leon Orbeli in 1936 . Pavlov Peak in Antarctica has been named after him since 1960 . The Pavlov Polyclinic in Magdeburg in Germany is named after him.

Behavioral research services

He was convinced that behavior can be based on reflexes and discovered the principle of classical conditioning . He made a distinction between unconditioned (also naturally named) and conditioned reflexes (which are acquired through learning).

One of Pavlov's dogs

The best known is probably the so-called Pavlovian dog : a research project that emerged directly from his physiological studies , which were honored with the Nobel Prize . During these studies, Pavlov found that a dog's saliva secretion does not begin when they eat, but rather when they see the food. Another stimulus, for example a ringtone, can trigger the secretion of saliva and other digestive juices if it regularly precedes feeding. Pavlov explained the event by the repeated encounter of the stimulus with the subsequent feeding. At some point, the previously neutral stimulus is enough to trigger the secretion of saliva. Pavlov called this the conditioned reflex.

Pavlov's achievement was not only to have found and precisely described the "conditioned reflex", but also to understand the laws of inhibition and excitation processes in the nervous system and their role in the analysis of the external environment, but also of the internal organs, explored. He showed the diverse possibilities the central nervous system has in establishing a balance between the external environment and the organism. But he also found out where the limits are. He discovered how disorders arise in the nervous system and was able to experimentally create neuroses in dogs and heal them again. From this he drew conclusions to explain the mechanism of a number of mental illnesses and their healing.

His students included, for example, the physiologist and pacifist Georg Friedrich Nicolai , who used behavioral arguments from Pavlov in his works condemning the war. Another student was Boris Babkin , who also wrote his biography.

Individual evidence

  1. USTIMOVIČ, Konstantin Nikolaevič - dates of life
  2. Ustimowitsch, C .. 'Experimental contributions to the theory of urinary secretion' . Works from the Physiological Institute in Leipzig, (1870)
  3. a b E. A. Asratyan: IP Pavlov: His Life and Work . Foreign Languages ​​Publishing House, Moscow 1953.
  4. George Windholz: Ivan P. Pavlov: An overview of his life and psychological work . In: American Psychologist . tape 52 , no. 9 , 1997, pp. 941-946 , doi : 10.1037 / 0003-066X.52.9.941 .
  5. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904 Ivan Pavlov (accessed August 21, 2016).
  6. ^ News from the other end of medicine - Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow Biography July 28, 2007 by Günter Schütte
  7. ^ Werner E. Gerabek : Pawlow, Iwan Petrowitsch. In: Werner E. Gerabek, Bernhard D. Haage, Gundolf Keil , Wolfgang Wegner (eds.): Enzyklopädie Medizingeschichte. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2005, ISBN 3-11-015714-4 , p. 1118.
  8. Concerning the Conditions Ensuring the Research Work of Academician IP Pavlov and his associates (accessed on 21 August 2016).
  9. see entry in the membership directory of the Leopoldina
  10. ^ Member History: Ivan Pavlov. American Philosophical Society, accessed November 28, 2018 .
  11. a b c Pavlov Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences ( Memento of the original from March 13, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on August 21, 2016).  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.infran.ru
  12. ^ Richard Cavendish: Death of Ivan Pavlov . In: History Today . tape 61 , no. 2 , 2011, p. 9 .
  13. ^ Ingrid Kästner: The German doctor and pacifist Georg Friedrich Nicolai (1874-1964) as a student of the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovič Pavlov (1849-1936). Würzburg medical history reports 24, 2005, pp. 261–267.


  • Iver Hand: Pavlov's Contribution to Psychiatry. Development and structural analysis of a research direction . Thieme, Stuttgart 1972. ISBN 3-13-158701-6
  • Thomas Kussmann: Soviet Psychology, in Search of the Method. Pavlov's teachings and the image of man in Marxist psychology . Huber, Bern 1974. ISBN 3-456-30581-8
  • Alexander Mette: JP Pavlov. His life and work. Dobbeck, Munich 1958.
  • L. Pickenhain (Ed.): Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow, Collected works on the physiology and pathology of the higher nerve activity. Wuerzburg 1998.
  • Torsten Rüting: Pavlov and the New Man. Discourses on Discipline in Soviet Russia . Oldenbourg, Munich 2002. ISBN 3-486-56679-2 , review by Gerd Koenen, Hsoz-Kult
  • Daniel P. Todes: Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science. Oxford University Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0199925193
  • Adam Zych: Psychologowie radzieccy i ich prace 1917–1977. Słownik biograficzny, Kielce: WSP, 1980, pp. 112–114 (Polish)
  • NA Grigorian: Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich . In: Charles Coulston Gillispie (Ed.): Dictionary of Scientific Biography . tape 10 : SG Navashin - W. Piso . Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1974, p. 431-436 .

Web links

Commons : Ivan Pavlov  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files