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Working at Ivan Pavlov's Old Haunt in Russia

Why go so far away? I explain why it's worth doing a research project in Russia.

I have now been working here in St. Petersburg for 3 months, and am happy that 6 months still remain. I chose to work here at the Institute of Experimental Medicine (IEM) in Russia because of the institution's amazing history and because of shared interest in research on interactions between the brain and the immune system during development.

The IEM is famous because Ivan Pavlov performed his conditioning experiments here. In fact, I work in the "Ivan Pavlov Department of Physiology." You can take a tour of the premises to visit Pavlov's office like I once did and see some of the equipment he used for his experiments. Pavlov's fundamental research, in which he conditioned a dog to salivate to the sound of a bell, demonstrated the simplest principles of learning still contemplated in great detail today.

But other parts of Pavlov's work and the works of his students are much less studied in the United States. For example, the research of Ukhtomsky, a Russian Physiologist, is well-known by every psychology student in eastern Europe. But most American students have never heard of the man. Is Ukhtomsky's work is inferior? Have political and cultural barriers prevented transmission of his work? Or are there philosophical differences between researchers in Russia and in the United States?

And one final question: What happens when the students of two different countries study vastly different versions of science?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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