This is not the first time that Pavlov has been invoked as a metaphor in popular culture.
The Barenaked Ladies track, ‘Brian Wilson’, has the following verse:
It’s a matter of instinct, it’s a matter of conditioning,
It’s a matter of fact.
You can call me Pavlov’s dog
Ring a bell and I’ll salivate – how’d you like that?
Dr Landy tell me you’re not just a pedagogue,
cause right now I’m
Lying in bed just like Brian Wilson did…
The Dr Landy referred to in the lyrics was controversial psychologist Eugene Landy, who attempted to ‘treat’ Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson’s mental difficulties (including a not inconsiderable psychosis) by taking control of his career, musical output and other substantial parts of his life.
Unsurprisingly, legal action was eventually taken against Landy and he gave up his license to practice in California.