Four Types of Temperaments
Many of us feel that the people in our lives shape our personalities, influencing our professional trajectories, personal experiences and temperaments. Each seemingly insignificant or significant encounter has the potential to impact our thinking and behavior; also, our representation of ourselves may vary over time as we meet other people and bid farewell to friends and loved ones. While the process of development of personality is mostly unknown, it appears evident that our experiences have a major role in it.
A person’s temperament is defined by their behavior and self-presentation in light of their personal attributes and meaningful experiences. Temperament is fairly consistent and acts as a guide for determining how you might react in different scenarios. It’s a method for identifying recurring personality features.
According to one study, temperament is determined by brain-stem functions. Each individual has a different brain stem anatomy and physiology that cannot be altered during life. While the brain stem doesn’t really change, this does not entirely prevent humans from changing their temperament. Rather than that, when people learn new information and develop their conduct, they might integrate new forms of behavior into their temperament. Regardless of your personality, you always have the opportunity to redeem your life while maintaining a sense of self-worth. Simply being alive is a blessing, so make the most of it.
While your basic temperament is fixed, you may alter your behavior as you age and continue to build your approach that relies on your viewpoint. You have the ability to alter your perspective. If you have ever thought that you have behaved unreasonably in certain situations, identifying and understanding the four temperament types can help you improve your attitude.
It is believed that temperamental qualities account for 45%–65% of the observed diversity in personality. Temperament is an inherited genetic characteristic of intellect, mood, drive, and conduct that is affected by the environment but remains mostly consistent across time. Temperament is a product of our genetic make-up. It both inspires and is affected by the person’s experiences; one of the effects is the progression of psychological development. Although some theories suggest that there is no hard line between temperament and personality, classic definitions of temperament comprise behavioral tendencies observed in pre-linguistic newborns and generalizable to non-human animals through child to adult.
It is believed that there is a logical explanation for whatever we do as humans, yet it is sometimes hard to decipher why we think the way we do, feel the way we feel, or behave in a manner we do in life. Numerous explanations for human behavior can be discovered in an individual’s temperament or personality.
The understanding of human personality dates all the way back to the legendary Greek physician Hippocrates, called the “father of medicine”. Hippocrates’ work has been thoroughly investigated and is still used today as a dynamic clinical instrument in psychiatry and psychology. A broad explanation for human “Temperaments” or “Personalities” is that every one of us was born with inherited genetic behavioral proclivities that are just as much a component of our DNA as our hair color; we are all composed of DNA sequences passed down from our ancestors and parents. This information is critical because it enables us to have a more complete understanding of our fundamental behavioral tendency. While a large portion of our human personality is hereditary, it should be remembered that a large portion of it is also impacted and molded by our unique circumstances. The majority of scientific study on human behavior indicates that approximately 50% of personality differences are influenced by hereditary variables — implying that our human conduct is formed equally by our surroundings and our DNA. Additionally, the scientific study classifies all human personalities into four broad groups (apart from people with serious mental problems), and these four major types are further subdivided into two subcategories — Introverts and Extroverts:
- Extroverted Personalities: The Sanguine and Choleric personality types are more “sociable,” more outgoing, much more at ease in crowds, sometimes even shining out.
- Introverted Personalities: Phlegmatic and Melancholy personality types are more quiet and shy, and they experience anxiousness while in a gathering, particularly when singled out in a throng of people.
It’s worth noting that all humans possess a measure of each of these 4 personality types, albeit each person will undoubtedly fare better in one than the others. No person has a monolithic personality, and the majority of us have a solid secondary temperament. If you were to take one of the various personality assessments today, you would learn that you exhibit predominant features in a few of the temperaments, and each personality type has a unique attribute.
The four temperament concept is an early form of psychology that theorizes the existence of four basic personality types. Temperament theory has its origins in the early humoristic notion. It may have started in Mesopotamian or Ancient Egyptian medicine, but it was evolved into a medical concept by Greek health professional Hippocrates. He thought that some emotional states, behaviors, and thoughts were caused by an excess or deficiency of bodily fluids (labeled “humor”), which he categorized as phlegm, black bile, yellow bile, and blood. Galen devised the first temperament categorization in his thesis De temperamentis and investigated the physiological basis for human behavior. He divided them according to the four elements as wet/dry and cold/hot. Additionally, there may be a mix of the attributes, resulting in a total of 9 temperaments.
The term “temperament” derives from the Latin “temperare,” which means to mingle. The complementing features of the optimal personality were perfectly matched between hot and cold and dried and damp. In four less-than-ideal types, one of the four characteristics was more important than the others. The remaining four groups were dominated by one set of attributes; for example, hot and moist dominated cold and dry. These latter four temperamental types were named “sanguine,” “choleric,” “melancholic,” and “phlegmatic” by Galen after the bodily humors. Each was caused by high levels of one of the humors, resulting in an unbalance of matched attributes.
Avicenna (980–1037 AD), a Persian scientist, developed the temperament principle in his Canon of Medicine, which became a conventional medical text in many medieval institutions. He used them to describe emotional characteristics, intellectual acuity, moral standards, consciousness, gestures, and dreams. Nicholas Culpeper proposed that the humors worked as key elements in physical health, and described their impact on physiology and psychology. He claimed that some people possessed a single temperament, while others possessed a combination of two temperaments, an essential and auxiliary temperament. They were renamed Artisan (SP), Guardian (SJ), Idealist (NF), and Rational (NT) respectively.
Although certain personality systems employ categories comparable to the Greek temperaments, modern medical research does not establish a stable association between physiological fluids and personality. The four humors, out of which, as you may have surmised, both “humor” and a person’s temperament derive, according to Hippocrates and the Hippocratic school are as follows:
- Blood is the properties of air likened to human behavior.
- The characteristics of Water applied to humans are referred to as phlegm.
- The various attributes of the earth applied to the human being is black bile.
- The feature of fire related to humans is yellow bile.
But how does this relate to temperaments? Hardly anything in and of itself. Hippocrates, as previously said, was a physician who developed these four humors to describe symptoms of various illnesses. Centuries later, Galen of Pergamum, a Greek philosopher, and physician, recovered Hippocrates’ notions and translated them to the human psyche to understand the temperaments that could exist.
Despite attempting to associate it with principles of neurology and neuronal pathways, as a result of the studies and work of Hippocrates, Galen of Pergamum, and Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, the concept of the four temperaments is an ancient categorization that emerges from more than one assumption of the interpretation of the soul premised on how the various humors (core tenets of Hippocrates) inside the body affect the psychological processes.
Regardless, of the fact that discovering this association is fascinating, and this categorization into four primary temperaments, and despite its plainly philosophical foundations, this information is quite valuable for persons seeking significance in their temperamental manifestations. Let’s have a look at them without undue delay.
1. Sanguine temperament
The sanguine temperament is associated with joyful people who are constantly seeking the companionship of others and who maintain an optimistic outlook on life. According to Ivan Pavlov, this temperament results from a dynamic, healthy, and extremely sensitive neurological system that is adaptable to changing environmental conditions and has a low level of focus.
By sanguine temperament, we mean the temperament of warm, active people who seek to appreciate life as long as it is reasonably possible. Additionally, they are sociable individuals with strong communication abilities and an easy manner to transmit their happy mood.
They tend to ponder before expressing, are perceptive, highly active, and responsive. They base their decisions on emotions rather than thoughts. Even so, they are prone to changing their ideas and, being more motivated by instantaneous gratification, they frequently abandon projects. According to Hippocrates’ idea, the temperament related to such properties is certainly blood, and so is the air (sanguine).
2. Phlegmatic temperament
The phlegmatic temperament is characterized by tranquility, peace, rational, and resolute individuals who have a slightly reserved demeanor, preferring not to be the center of attention or assume the role of leader. Ivan Pavlov claimed that this temperament results from a steady, regulated, and low-sensitivity nervous system that is inflexible to environmental changes and possesses a higher level of focus.
By phlegmatic temperament, we mean the personality of cool and collected, calm people who are almost never angry, who are expressionless, who are incredibly healthy, perceptive and calculative, who are extremely emotionally balanced, who decide things calmly, who do not leave tasks uncompleted, and who have a propensity to be cold.
They desire a comfortable and peaceful lifestyle with very few changes, which makes them highly conformist. They place an emphasis on precision in both thinking and planning and have a difficult time expressing their emotions to others. According to Hippocrates’ idea, its linked humor is definitely phlegm, and so water.
3. Melancholic temperament
The gloomy temperament is characterized by delicate, artistic, introspective, self-sacrificing, and devoted individuals who are devoted to their hobbies and goals but are extremely vulnerable and dogmatic. According to Ivan Pavlov, this temperament develops as a result of a fragile and highly sensitive nerve system, with limited flexibility and a greater level of focus.
Melancholic temperament, which is regarded the most complicated psychologically, mean the personality of individuals who are mentally highly sensitive (with a greater proclivity toward sadness), extremely sensitive to art, easily disturbed when focused, introverted, quickly gets angry, inventive, self-sacrificing (unselfish), faithful, and susceptible to very sudden emotional changes.
They are perfectionists who rarely interact with others, however, they do allow others to come close to them. It’s tough to get them to begin tasks since they are so critical, but once started, they will complete them due to their personality. As previously stated, they invest heavily in all of their endeavors and are constantly striving to accomplish their objectives. Hippocrates’ hypothesis states that the linked humor is black bile, and so the land (melancholic).
4. Choleric temperament
The choleric temperament is characterized by individuals who are active, assertive, and self-sufficient, with a personality that drives them to be very ambitious and to passionately defend their opinions and beliefs. Ivan Pavlov claimed that this temperament is the result of a rapid but imbalanced neurological system that is adaptable and possesses a high level of focus.
They are pragmatic in their decision-making, extremely autonomous, and so self-sufficient. Additionally, they are extroverted (though not quite as much as people with sanguine temperament), competitive, and have very defined goals. The choleric temperament is characterized by a passionate, dynamic, headstrong personality that is always generating concepts, ambitions, and objectives. They are domineering (they can become manipulating) and, under some conditions, quite unforgiving of others, despite their adaptability to life changes.
They are individuals who, above all, believe in their own standards and do not shy away from conflict or disagreement. Naturally, they are not afraid to assume the role of leadership. Additionally, it is how they look happier. The issue is that when this temperament is mismanaged, it can be incredibly damaging. According to Hippocrates’ belief, its linked humor is yellow bile, and so fire.
The below are the numerous temperamental mixtures and how they appear when combined. After having determined your main temperament and the temperament that comes in a strong second, you’re ready to explore how the 2 temperaments interact. When analyzing different temperament possibilities, your main temperament will be mentioned first — for instance, if your principle temperament is Sanguine and the second close temperament is Choleric, they will be identified as “San/Chol” underneath the title “Sanguine,” not just as “Chol/San” underneath the title “Choleric” (the supplementary temperament); the main temperament must be mentioned first.
San/Chol – This mix is the most socially adept of all the mixes due to the fact that both core categories are extroverted. They are sociable and eager, yet the Choleric’s ambitions moderate the Sanguine’s deficiency of structure. They are usually invariably avid sports fan and performs well in business. They might be excessively talkative and aggressive when challenged. The Sanguine’s carelessness and the Choleric’s caustic temperament may unintentionally cause them harm.
San/Mel – They are incredibly emotional individuals whose emotions can swing rapidly between ups and downs. Due to the Sanguine’s extroverted attitude, Melancholy’s analytical tendency frequently rises to the fore too readily. It is quite simple for a San/Mel to hammer themselves up, and in order to improve effectiveness, they should collaborate with others.
San/Phleg – The Sanguine’s dominating extroverted attitude is balanced by the gentle Phlegmatic. These are ecstatic and carefree folks that live to serve others. They have no intention of harming anyone, but they are struggling with a dearth of motivation in the workplace; they might rather look forward to socializing than work.
Chol/San – The second most influential extrovert is a busy and determined person; he is virtually fearless and possesses an energy surplus. Whichever career he pursues, his brain is perpetually active and involved. His flaws blend the Sanguine’s rage with the Choleric’s bitterness. He might both acquire and transmit a sore attitude. He may leave others around him (including his wife and kids) stunned and disgruntled as a result of his anger issues.
Chol/Mel – The Choleric/Melancholy is a highly productive and competent individual. He would be both diligent and meticulous. He blends vocal aggression with an uncanny ability to focus on detail. He is quite ambitious and assertive. He can be dictatorial and stubborn, with time management skills that require him to pay close attention to detail until the job is completed. He struggles with interpersonal interactions as a result of Choleric’s uncompromising nature and Melancholy’s perfectionism tendency.
Chol/Phleg – This temperament is by far the most reserved of the extroverted types. He is incredibly competent in the long run, even if he does not first amaze you. He is well-organized and a meticulous strategist. He frequently accomplishes more than other temperaments do because he is constantly thinking about how he may enlist the assistance of others. His flaws include a proclivity for quietly harboring resentment rather than expressing it. Recognizing his inadequacies is tough for him, and he frequently expresses concern about his effectiveness in daily activities.
Phleg/San — This is the best choice to get along with because this temperament is pleasant, cheerful, and sociable. They make good managers and other positions that require interpersonal relationships. They may be lacking in ambition and perseverance, and hence fall well short of their full potential. They may offer a helpful hand around in circles for decades without personal projection.
Phleg/Chol – The most outgoing of the introverts, yet they will never be a ball of energy. They have the potential to be an exceptional counselor due to their active listening ability. They are realistic, accommodating, and tolerant. They may be uninspired and could become obstinate when challenged. Additionally, they may have a propensity toward sluggish and lethargic behavior. They require social interaction since they are externally driven.
Phleg/Mel – This is a courteous and modest person who always does the right thing. He vacillates between tolerance and judgment and may exhibit a tendency towards negativism. They may be fearful of overstretching themselves and hence limit group participation.
Mel/San – They are meticulous and ordered; Melancholy is balanced by the gregarious and cheerful Sanguine. They are an amazing teacher because their organized side is proficient in factual information and their sanguine part makes them interesting to listen to. If they pursue a career in business, it will require meticulous attention to detail and the display of numerous facts. He is an emotional guy, capable of being brought to tears as well as being harsh and judgmental of others. Both temperaments can be apprehensive, resulting in an insecure individual with a low self-image.
Mel/Chol – This temperament has a propensity for perfectionism with a strong desire to succeed, which may ultimately lead him to medicine or law. They are a combination of assertiveness and dedication. Due to the Melancholy’s inherent complexity, they can be extremely hard to please. If they develop a bad attitude toward something or someone, it has the potential to stick with them for a significant period of time. Their combination can cause them to “select on” others and be vindictive toward those with whom they have a deep resentment.
Mel/Phleg – These individuals are frequently educators and intellectuals. They are less susceptible to antagonism than other Melancholy blends and integrate aspects of assessment and organization. They make great accountants and financial advisors. Regrettably, they are easily discouraged and may be prone to anxiety and fear. They could become disagreeable as a result of their uncompromising, rigid nature.
Advanced medicine and science have dismissed the ideas of the four temperaments, while their use remains as a metaphor within specific psychiatric professions.
Erich Fromm (1947), Ernst Kretschmer (1920), Eduard Spranger (1914), Erich Adickes (1866–1925), Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), Adler (1879–1937), Alfred and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) all hypothesized on the four temperaments (with various names) and substantially affected modern views of temperament. Hans Eysenck (1916–1997) was among the first scientists to use a psycho-statistical technique called factor analysis to examine personality characteristics, and his study led him to assume that temperament is physiologically rooted. The variables that he presented in his book Dimensions of Personality were neurotic tendencies (N), the propensity to feel negative emotions, extraversion (E), the inclination to enjoy good situations, particularly social ones. By matching the two aspects, Eysenck remarked how the findings were identical to the four old temperaments.
Other scholars constructed comparable systems, several of which did not utilize the old temperament labels, and others linked extraversion with a separate element that would define interpersonal and task orientation. Examples are DiSC evaluation and sociable styles. One of the most prominent nowadays is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, where four temperaments were centered mostly on the Greek deities Prometheus, Epimetheus, Dionysus, and Apollo and were linked to the Sixteen types of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) They were redesigned as Rational (NT), Idealist (NF), Guardian (SJ), and Artisan (SP).
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