chapter  3
9 Pages

Pavlov’s Brain Model and Concepts

The antecedents of Pavlov's brain model may be traced directly to the concepts of Sechenov and Jackson, who were pioneers in the field of neurophysiology. Sechenov and Jackson, in their turn, were influenced by the philosophical concepts of Locke and Spencer, respectively. The concepts of Sechenov and Jackson have been incorporated in Pavlov's brain model, according to which the adaptation of the organism to its surroundings, on the first level, is a subcortical function and is accomplished by the unconditional reflexes. In Pavlov's view, adaptation of the organism to the environment is accomplished on the second level by cerebral hemispheric function, with the exception of the frontal lobes. At this level, a new principle of activity is introduced by means of conditional connections. Even after Pavlov's "excursion" into psychiatry, the orientation of his school continued to be toward his classical conditioning method, and the application of verbal, secondary system signals did not bring about any significant alteration in this scheme.