The Physiology of Psychological Type, Part III: Falsification of Type

7. DISCOURAGEMENT AND/OR DEPRESSION. Prolonged adaptation can lead to the repeated triggering of the conserve/withdraw reaction form to stress. This can be especially true for high introverts although it can be observed in extroverts who, as years go by, continue to perceive a mismatch between who they are individuals and societal expectations and/or repeated episodes of failure. This can lead to discouragement, especially as fatigue increases, and can contribute to the development of depression or to the exacerbation of existing depression. Estimates suggest that upwards of 20 million individuals in USA are depressed, 15% of whom are suicidal. Prolonged adaptation appears to be a key factor in at least some of these cases.

8. SELF-ESTEEM PROBLEMS. Any or all of the other symptoms can contributed to a perceived diminished overall success in life. In turn, this can whack one's self esteem. Problems in this area can appear as "low self-esteem" or "inflated self-esteem" or flip back and forth between them. Examples include:

  • Low self-esteem problems resulting in an individual taking on "victim" characteristics and/or trying to be all things to all people
  • Inflated self-esteem problems resulting in an individual taking on "offender" characteristics and/or becoming defensive quickly as a result of years of invalidation
  • A circular spectrum as the individual swings from one extreme to another. This can sometimes be seen when the individual is invalidated professionally but validated personally with a small group of friends. The resulting dichotomy can be puzzling, unnerving, and even disconcerting as the individual strives (unsuccessfully) to be viewed as successful in both arenas.

Possible Implications

It has been said that stressors generally interact with the brain in a two-part equation, or the 20:80 Rule. This suggests that:

  • 20% of the effect to the mind and body is due to the stressor itself

  • 80% of the effect to the mind and body is due to one's perception of the stressor

As the philosopher Epictetus was quoted as saying: It's not so much what happens to us as what we think about what happens to us that makes the difference.

The 20:80 Rule, therefore, can be not only appropriate but also very helpful in a variety of situations. This can be particular true when the stressors are environmental and situational outside of ourselves. This could include stressors such as: another's individual's attitude towards us, our having been fired from a job, being unable to develop a romantic relationship with a desired individual or a relationship that is clearly in difficulty. In such situations the 20:80 Rule can be of great assistance in pointing us to the value of "reframing" our perception of the stressor.

When a stressor is inside ourselves, however, and involves a mismatch between who we are innately and expectations of society, culture, school, church, and family, the ramifications may be quite different. In these cases, we so often become involved in prolonged adaptation (Falsifying Type) as we strive to obtain rewards or avoid punishment (e.g., shaming, invalidation of the self). Benziger believes that when considering Falsification of Type, neuroscience and experience suggest that the 20:80 Rule may need to be adjusted substantially. The Stressor (Falsifying Type) may contribute as much as 60% of the effect on the mind and body while our perception (Interpretation or Framing of the Stressor) may contribute only about 40% of the effect. The implications are profound. This would play Falsifying Type as a major and potentially life-threatening stressor!

Education, understanding, empathy, emotional support, and reframing of one's individual experience are powerful psychological tools. Long term, however, they are basically powerless when the individual spends hours and hours each day in activities that require the brain to work up to 100 times harder, when life actually contributes to an imbalance of the brain and body, when body systems are thrown into distress by falsifying type.

Individuals who exhibit symptoms of PASS need to be evaluated for possible underlying physiological illness and (in the case of PTSD) for a history of previous trauma. They also need to be evaluated for the presence of prolonged adaptation, Falsifying Type. If this is found to be present, they need to be assisted in identifying their own innate giftedness and helped with strategies that can reduce the adaptation. The ideal, of course, is for the individual to stop falsifying type as soon as possible. In our culture, however, this can be easier said than immediately accomplished. In the meanwhile, understanding prolonged adaptation as a significant stressor can help individuals deal with it more efficaciously.

Bibliography on Falsification of Type and PASS

For those wishing to read more in-depth and technical sources, the following bibliography is recommended.

  • Benziger, Katherine. The Physiological and Psycho-Physiological Bases for Jungian Concepts: An Annotated Bibliography KBA 1996.

  • Benziger, Katherine. Falsification of Type: Its Jungian and Physiological Foundations & Mental, Emotional and Physiological Costs KBA 1995.

  • Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience: Steps Towards Enhancing the Quality of Life. Harper & Row Publishers. 1990.

  • Hafen, Brent Q. Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. Simon & Schuster / Allyn & Bacon 1996.

  • Jung, Carl Gustav. The Psychology of Type. London 1926.

  • Justice, Blair, Ph.D. Who Gets Sick: How Beliefs, Moods and Thoughts Affect Your Health. Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc. Los Angeles, 1987.

  • Haier, Richard. Cortical Glucose Metabolic Rate Correlates of Abstract Reasoning and Intelligence, Studied with Positron Emission, by Haier et al. unpublished paper from January 1988.

  • Haier, Richard. The Study of Personality With Positron Emission Tomography in Personality Dimensions & Arousal, ed. by Jan Stvelan & Hans J. Eyesenck. Plenum Publishing Company, 1987.

  • Logan, Robert K. The Alphabet Effect: The Impact of the Phonetic Alphabet on the Development of Western Civilization. William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York, 1986.

  • Sapolsky, Robert M. Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: A Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York 1994.

  • Schlain, Leonard. The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. Viking. New York 1998.


For more information, visit Dr. Benziger's web site at: www.benziger.org or contact Dr. Katherine Benziger by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prepared by Katherine Benziger, Ph.D. and Arlene Taylor, Ph.D.

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