A pavlovian approach to psychiatry

  • W. W. Gordon


The basic scientific discovery made by Pavlov, namely the differentially associated paired system comprising related positive and negative conditioned signals based upon inborn reflex systems, has been applied to normal, neurotic and psychotic states.

A hypothesis is suggested as to the causation of neurotic and psychotic disorder. The differentially associated paired systems based upon the reproductive reflexes have to be reversed at puberty in the course of maturation and this disrupts normal function. This is not incompatible with Freudian ideas where “unconscious incestuous wishes, drives and guilt” are believed to be potent factors in the production of functional disorders.

Freudian “life instincts” are equated with normal differentially associated paired systems and “death instincts” are equated with those paired systems in a state of reversal (ultraparadoxical phase).


Sensory Stimulation Nerve Impulse Conditioned Signal Positive Training Negative Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adrian, E. D.: The Physical Background of Perception. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1947.Google Scholar
  2. Gordon, W. W.: “Cerebral physiology and psychiatry.”J. Ment. Sci.,394: 118–132, 1948.Google Scholar
  3. Pavlov, I. P.: Conditioned Reflexes. University Press, Oxford, 1927.Google Scholar
  4. Pavlov, I. P.: Lectures on Conditioned Reflexes. 2 vols. Lawrence and Wishart, London, 1940 and 1941.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. W. Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.Gartloch HospitalGartcoshGlasgow

Personalised recommendations