Medical Definition of Pavlovian conditioning

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Pavlovian conditioning: A method to cause a reflex response or behavior by training with repetitive action. The Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov conditioned dogs to respond in what proved to be a predictable manner. For example, when he customarily rang a bell before feeding them, the dogs would begin to salivate whenever the bell rang. The principles of Pavlovian conditioning form the basis of much modern behavioral science.

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Reviewed on 12/12/2018

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