Ivan Pavlov was a 20th-century Russian physiologist most notable for his scientific studies involving the salivary reactions of dogs. His groundbreaking research into the nature of conditioned reflexes was widely influential in the field of psychology, as it allowed for the objective observation of an organism's reaction to external stimuli.
Pavlov was born on Sept. 14, 1849, in Ryazan, Russia. As a young man, he enrolled in a local seminary school, where he intended to follow in his father's footsteps and become a priest. Soon, however, he decided to abandon his religious training and devote his career to the study of science.
In 1890, Pavlov became head of the Department of Physiology at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, a position he maintained for the remainder of his life. It was here that he was able to conduct the vast majority of his physiological research. It was also where he conducted his famous experiments involving "Pavlov's dogs." During this phase of research, Pavlov proved his theory that an organism's response to its external stimuli is both a psychological and a physiological phenomenon that could be studied objectively using the scientific method. His research paved the way for the rise of behavioral psychology and earned him the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1904.