Pavlov’s Dog by Adam Hart-Davis

Review published on February 23, 2018.

Many of you will remember the author of this book as the man who cycles about the countryside, describing the relevant histories of ‘Local Heroes’ in a television series of the same title. His name is Adam Hart-Davis. Amongst his many other books, he has written this one to help explain the background and results of 50 experiments that revolutionised the new science, psychology.

Eminent people conducted these experiments over many years, ranging from the middle 1800s right up to 2007. Each issue has about three or more pages to explain the basic premise and to reveal the conclusions.

I am no expert on psychology at all, and this book is such a boon to the layman, very easy to understand and to be amazed at how complex the human mind can be when under analysis.

Charles Darwin conducted the first experiment mentioned in the book in 1881. His investigation into the possible intelligence of the classic earthworm is neatly explained. This then opened up the avenues of research globally, and the new phenomenon of psychology began. How does the human brain recognise visual stimulus? Can psychiatrists tell if you are sane? Lots of different questions are hopefully answered, then counter-answered, which then proves the complexity of the human brain.

This is how it continues throughout. I enjoyed virtually all the different facets of experimentation within; it is most certainly an eye opener. What happens when a brain is cut in half? How do autistic children see the world? These experiments, as described, are undoubtedly a wide sweep of the brush within the book content, but nonetheless, it carries with it quite an important education to the average person on the street who is inquisitive and curious.

This book is also the companion to another publication entitled Schrodinger’s Cat, explaining physics, to be published in June 2018.

Reg Seward 4/2

Pavlov’s Dog by Adam Hart-Davis
Modern Books 9781911130321 pbk Mar 2018

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