To regard the brain simply as a tabula rasa, or as inert, passive masses of specialized tissue sensitive to excitations from the outside was the predominant view during the first half of this century. Specific and stable geometrical configurations of connections within the central nervous system (CNS) that resulted in patterns of excitations between input and output were thought dependent on experience. Whereas Sherrington demonstrated the importance of this general principle in the form of reflex-arc activity at the spinal cord level, Pavlov extended this theory to explain all behavior in the form of unconditioned and conditioned reflexes. In his book The Structure and Functions of the Brain, S. A. Sarkisov, director of the Moscow State Brain Institute reviews the contributions of Russian comparative neuroembryologists, neuroanatomists, neurophysiologists, and their current orientation toward the dynamics of CNS function.
It is their total adherence to Pavlovian theory that makes this treatise of