Human Types – The Physiological Factors

All humans are not of the same calibre, emotionally, intellectually and creatively. Some write poetry, novels and prose; some make inventions and some do hard labor. While on the other side, some live life simply to live life and some live life in dull-murk inertia.

Brain, the nervous system, enables all mental and physical activities of humans as well as animals and other living organisms. The brain activities are executed by the process of excitation and inhibition of the sensory centres in the central nervous system. Excitation and inhibition are guided by reflexes. Reflexes are the established contact links of nerve to nerve communication. The nerve to nerve communication of reflexes is necessary for arousal of sensory experiences in consequence of interaction of stimuli emanating from various environs.

Environs go on changing constantly: Sometimes it is normal and at other times it fluctuates with higher and or lower intensities. In order to keep balance with the fluctuating influence of the environs brain as a whole especially the nerve cells in the sensory areas of the cortex have to bear the burden of the changes to keep equilibrium of its reactions. But the physical structure of every human being is not equally fit enough to keep the equilibrium. While a section of the people keep their behaviour balanced some others appear weak, some provocative, some imaginative, some sleepish and dreamy. It all depends upon each individual’s neuro-physical structure alongside with congenital factors. As a result, behaviour and temperaments of humans vary from person to person.

During the pre-scientific era of the yore, philosophers made umpteen attempts to classify the types of people on the basis of their temperament. They presumed that humans belong to different types depending upon their temperaments and general behaviour.

The Greek Physician-Philosopher Hippocrates, who belonged to the era four hundred years before Jesus Christ was born, was successful in identifying four basic types of humans depending upon their behaviour and temperaments.  According to the theory of Hippocrates, humans can be classified as Choleric Type, Phlegmatic Type, Sanguine Type and Melancholic Type.

Choleric type of person is quick, active and practical. These persons are strong-willed, self-sufficient and independent. They have vivid opinions and they make easy decisions for themselves and for others.

Phlegmatic type is generally of well-balanced temperaments:  They are calm, cool, slow and easy going. They do not get excited; they are happy and pleasant; they hardly interfere in the affairs of others. They are consistent; they are a combination of multitudes of abilities.

Sanguine is that type of a person who is always warm, buoyant and lively. Sanguine is receptive; Sanguine recognizes the feelings of others. Feelings rather than thoughts predominate the decision making power of the Sanguine type.

Melancholy is considered as dark temperament:  By nature melancholic type of people are introverts. They live under the cloud of different moods; moods make them ecstatic too.

Hippocrates’s reason for differentiating individual humans was based on a misconceived idea that liquids of different nature flood the human body and depending upon the nature of the liquid humans fall under different types. The liquid theory behind human type was discarded as being baseless and unworthy. However, the discarded theory was re-examined by the great physiologist, Dr. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, to confirm whether there was neurological substance in the subjective theory propounded by Hippocrates.  Pavlov’s investigations brought to light many hitherto unknown truths about human type.

Excitation and inhibition are basic nerve actions that take place in brain.  Strength, mobility and balance of these basic nerve processes vary from person to person depending upon the nature of nerve cells.  Pavlov proved that excitation process has dominance over inhibition process in the nerve cells of Choleric type of people. People with predominance of inhibition over excitation, are Phlegmatic.  Sanguine are those with balanced excitation and inhibition. Melancholic are the type where both the nerve processes of excitation and inhibition are weak and feeble.

Pavlov’s investigations did not stop at identifying the nerve processes behind the Types: He went ahead further revealing the peculiarities of the types:  He distinguished three Strong Types and one Weak Type with reference to nervous action.  Pavlov characterized them as (1) Strong type with predominance of excitation under the Choleric type, (2) Strong type with predominance of inhibition under Phlegmatic type, (3) Strong type with balanced processes of excitation and inhibition under Sanguine type  and (4) Weak type with weak processes of both excitation and inhibition under Melancholic type.

Ivan Pavlov’s investigations also revealed certain links that exist between the communication system of humans and the types. The communication system of humans comprises First Signal System of signs and symbols and the Second Signal System of words. Pavlov found that Artistic Type of people have predominance of First Signal System as compared to the Second Signal System. Intellectual Type is the one endowed with predominance of Second Signal System as against the First Signal System.  There is also an Intermediate Type with both First and Second signal systems balanced. People of artistic type perceive reality vividly, imaginatively. They feel confident in their surroundings. People of intellectual type are not inclined to ratiocination and doubt and they always turn indecisive in their day to day life.

Poetry, novels, short stories, philosophical doctrines are the creations of humans. Inventions for existence and inventions for destruction are the creations of humans. Society, social order, rules, regulations, customs, beliefs, dogmas, politics and governance are the creations of humans. Skill and ability of creations are bestowed on the humans according to their Type. Success or failure, whatever it be, all depends upon the Type. Type, yes type that is what decides humans among humans.

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