chapter
12 Pages

Physiological Teaching on Types of Nervous System or Temperaments39

WithIvan P. Pavlov

The most general characteristic of a living being consists in the fact that it responds with its definite specific activity not only to the external stimuli, the connections with which exist ready-made since the day of birth, but also to many other stimuli the connections with which develop in the course of individual existence, in other words, that a living being possesses the ability of adaptation. This chapter constitutes Pavlov’s report to the meeting of the Pirogov Russian Surgical Society dedicated to N. I. Pirogov’s memory on December 6, 1927. In classifying the types of nervous system in dogs, Pavlov divides the “intermediate” balanced type, according to the character of mobility of its nervous processes, into two types—the “lively” and the “inert”. Thus he distinguishes four types which correspond to the four temperaments established by Hippocrates. The “excitable” type formerly recognised by Pavlov as corresponding to Hippocrates’ sanguine temperament in this work corresponds to Hippocrates’ choleric temperament.