The son and the grandson of clergymen, he also went to a religious school and then to the seminary, but in his final year of studies he read a book on physiology.
The book rocked his world, and he enrolled at the Saint Petersburg University, devoting his life to science. He de facto created physiology of digestion and was awarded the Nobel Prize for that research.
His digestion studies led him to the idea of conditioned reflexes, which in turn caused him to studying higher nervous activity. Pavlov put it beautifully: “Through dog’s saliva droplets, we will eventually comprehend the torment of human consciousness.” And they did: Pavlov’s research on higher nervous activity had a great impact on the development of physiology, psychology, medicine and pedagogy. Ivan Pavlov rejected the Revolution and roundly condemned the Bolsheviks’ experiment, saying that he would not have subjected a dog to such a test. Although Pavlov was invited to work in Stockholm, in a research institute that the Swedes offered to build for him, he refused to leave his native country. But he did not resign himself and openly spoke against violence in his letters to the country’s leadership. And he was one to know about violence: “Violence is a double-edged sword. By suppressing the innate instinct of freedom... terror, combined with starvation... inculcates the public with the conditioned reflex of slavish submission...”