In this section I will discuss step-by-step the ramifications of what Pavlov discovered and why this changes everything we know about animal consciousness. I didn’t arrive at these understandings of Pavlov by way of any discussion on Pavlov. Rather, from coming to understand the nature of emotion and the role that emotion plays in the behavior of animals (Emotion–Unresolved Emotion–Resolved Emotion) has led me to see that an animal’s sense of reality derives not from what actually happens, but due to what physical memory (Unresolved Emotion) is being triggered by what happens.
1) Quote from Simonov (student of Pavlov): “Positive emotions arising in connection with the perfection of a skill, irrespective of its pragmatic significance at a given moment, serve as the reinforcement.”
In other words; emotion, not reinforcements, are actually what reinforce any given behavior.
2) Pavlov discovered that a dog feels viscerally, i.e. physically, connected to what it is attracted to. In other words, a dog feels that what it feels internally is what causes things to happen externally.
3) Pavlov discovered that emotion is object oriented. This is evidenced most clearly by the fact that the strongest emotional responses are elicited by external objects (prey/play/mate/offspring/toy). External stimuli trigger visceral, autonomic responses over which an animal has no control and satisfying the internal void (physical/sexual/social appetite) thus engendered requires an external object. An internal void such as a state of hunger is emotionally destabilizing and can only be satisfied with an object of attraction. Therefore because emotion requires an object, emotion is a state of attraction.
4) Pavlov discovered that because external objects of attraction can be imprinted on basic visceral processes, it is magical thinking to think that the earliest imprints of infancy mitigate over time. The earliest imprints must magnify with every experience and therefore constitute the substrate of an animal’s cognitive processes.