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Choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic

temperaments
Four temperaments
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Four temperaments is a proto-psychological
theory that suggests that there are four fundamental
personality types, sanguine (pleasure-seeking and
sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like),
melancholic (analytical and quiet), and
phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful). Most
formulations include the possibility of mixtures of
the types.
The Greek physician Hippocrates (460370 BC)
incorporated the four temperaments into his
medical theories as part of the ancient medical
concept of humorism, that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviors. Later discoveries in
biochemistry have led modern medicine science to reject the theory of the four temperaments, although some
personality type systems of varying scientific acceptance continue to use four or more categories of a similar nature.
Contents
1 History and development
2 The four temperament types
2.1 Sanguine
2.2 Choleric
2.3 Melancholic
2.4 Phlegmatic
3 Decline in popularity
4 Contemporary writings
5 Cultural references
6 See also
7 References
8 External links
History and development
Temperament theory has its roots in the ancient four humors theory. It may have origins in ancient Egypt
[1]
or
Mesopotamia,
[2]
but it was the Greek physician Hippocrates (460370 BC) who developed it into a medical
theory. He believed certain human moods, emotions and behaviors were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids
(called "humors"): blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. Next, Galen (AD 131200) developed the first
typology of temperament in his dissertation De temperamentis, and searched for physiological reasons for different
Choleric, sanguine, melancholic, and phlegmatic temperaments
behaviors in humans. He classified them as hot/cold and dry/wet taken from the Four Elements.
[3]
There could
also be "balance" between the qualities, yielding a total of nine temperaments. The word "temperament" itself
comes from Latin "temperare", "to mix". In the ideal personality, the complementary characteristics or warm-cool
and dry-moist were exquisitely balanced. In four less ideal types, one of the four qualities was dominant over all the
others. In the remaining four types, one pair of qualities dominated the complementary pair; for example, warm and
moist dominated cool and dry. These latter four were the temperamental categories Galen named "sanguine",
"choleric", "melancholic" and "phlegmatic" after the bodily humors, respectively. Each was the result of an excess
of one of the humors that produced, in turn, the imbalance in paired qualities.
[4][5][6]
In his Canon of Medicine (a standard
medical text at many medieval universities),
Persian polymath Avicenna (9801037
AD) extended the theory of temperaments
to encompass "emotional aspects, mental
capacity, moral attitudes, self-awareness,
movements and dreams."
[7]
Nicholas Culpeper (16161654),
described the humours as acting as
governing principles in bodily health, with
astrological correspondences,
[8]
and
explained their influence upon physiognomy
and personality.
[9]
Culpeper proposed
that, while some people had a single
temperament, others had an admixture of
two, a primary and secondary
temperament.
[10]
Immanuel Kant (17241804), Rudolf Steiner (18611925), Alfred Adler (18791937), Erich
Adickes (18661925), Eduard Spranger (1914), Ernst Kretschmer (1920), and Erich Fromm (1947) all theorized
on the four temperaments (with different names) and greatly shaped our modern theories of temperament. Hans
Eysenck (19161997) was one of the first psychologists to analyze personality differences using a psycho-statistical
method (factor analysis), and his research led him to believe that temperament is biologically based. The factors he
proposed in his book Dimensions of Personality were Neuroticism (N) which was the tendency to experience
negative emotions, and the second was Extraversion (E) which was the tendency to enjoy positive events,
especially social ones. By pairing the two dimensions, Eysenck noted how the results were similar to the four
ancient temperaments.
Other researchers developed similar systems, many of which did not use the ancient temperament names, and
several paired extroversion with a different factor, which would determine relationship/task-orientation. Examples
are DiSC assessment, social styles, and a theory that adds a fifth temperament. One of the most popular today is
the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, whose four temperaments were based largely on the Greek gods Apollo,
Dionysus, Epimetheus and Prometheus, and were mapped to the 16 types of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
(MBTI). They were renamed as Artisan (SP), Guardian (SJ), Idealist (NF), and Rational (NT). Rather than using
extroversion and introversion (E/I) and task/people focus, like other theories, KTS mapped the temperaments to
"Sensing" and "Intuition" (S/N, renamed "concrete" and "abstract") with a new pair category, "cooperative" and
"pragmatic" . When "Role-Informative" and "Role-Directive" (corresponding to orientation to people or to task),
Emoticon representation of the four
temperament types. Sanguine (top
left), choleric (top right), melancholic
(bottom right), and phlegmatic
(bottom left).
and finally E/I are factored in, you attain the 16 types. Finally, the Interaction Styles of Linda V. Berens combines
Directing and Informing with E/I to form another group of "styles" which greatly resemble the ancient temperaments,
and these are mapped together with the Keirsey Temperaments onto the 16 types.
Modern medical science has rejected the theories of the four temperaments, though their use persists as a metaphor
within certain psychological fields.
[11]
Relation of various four
temperament theories
Classical Element
Adler
[12]
Melancholic Earth Avoiding
Phlegmatic Water Getting
Sanguine Air Socially useful
Choleric Fire Ruling
The four temperament types
Each of the four types of humors corresponded in ancient times to a different personality type. These were
associated with a domination of various biological functions. Lievegoed suggested that the temperaments come to
clearest manifestation in childhood, between approximately 6 and 14 years of age, after which they become
subordinate (though still influential) factors in personality.
[13]
Sanguine
The sanguine temperament is traditionally associated with air. People with
this temperament tend to be playful, lively, sociable, carefree, talkative,
and pleasure-seeking. They may be warm-hearted and optimistic. They
can make new friends easily, be imaginative and artistic, and often have
many ideas.
[14][15]
They can be flighty and changeable; thus sanguine
personalities may struggle with following tasks all the way through and be
chronically late or forgetful.
[16]
Pedagogically, they can be best reached
through awakening their love for a subject and admiration of people.
[16]
Choleric
The choleric temperament is traditionally associated with fire. People with
this temperament tend to be egocentric and extroverted. They may be
excitable, impulsive, and restless, with reserves of aggression, energy,
and/or passion, and try to instill that in others.
[14][15]
They tend to be task-oriented people and are focused on getting a job done efficiently; their motto is usually "do it
now." They can be ambitious, strong-willed and like to be in charge. They can show leadership, are good at
planning, and are often practical and solution-oriented.
[14]
They appreciate receiving respect and esteem for their
Phlegmatic by
Lespagnandelle, part
of the Grande
Commande, Palace
of Versailles.
work.
[16]:20
Pedagogically, they can be best reached through mutual respect and appropriate challenges that recognize their
capacities.
[16]
Melancholic
The melancholic temperament is traditionally associated with the element of earth. People with this temperament
may appear serious, introverted, cautious or even suspicious. They can become preoccupied with the tragedy and
cruelty in the world and are susceptible to depression and moodiness. They may be focused and conscientious.
They often prefer to do things themselves, both to meet their own standards and because they are not inherently
sociable.
[15][14]
Pedagogically, they can be best met by awakening their sympathy for others and the suffering of the world.
[16]
Phlegmatic
The phlegmatic temperament is traditionally associated with water. People with this
temperament may be inward and private, thoughtful, reasonable, calm, patient, caring, and
tolerant. They tend to have a rich inner life, seek a quiet, peaceful atmosphere, and be
content with themselves. They tend to be steadfast, consistent in their habits, and thus
steady and faithful friends.
[14][15]
Pedagogically, their interest is often awakened by experiencing others' interest in a
subject.
[16]
People of this temperament may appear somewhat ponderous or clumsy. Their speech
tends to be slow or appear hesitant.
[14]
Decline in popularity
When the concept of the temperaments was on the wane, many critics dropped the
phlegmatic, or defined it purely negatively, such as the German philosopher Immanuel
Kant, as the absence of temperament. In the Five Temperaments theory, the classical
Phlegmatic temperament is in fact deemed to be a neutral temperament, whereas the
"relationship-oriented introvert" position traditionally held by the Phlegmatic is declared to
be a new "fifth temperament." Gary Smalley has renamed these classifications into a more
modern and relatable format based on commonly known animals. These he lists as the
"otters" (sanguines), "lions" (cholerics), "golden retrievers" (phlegmatics), and "beavers" (melancholics).
[17]
Contemporary writings
In Waldorf education and anthroposophy, the temperaments are used to help understand personality. They are seen
as avenues into teaching; as each child is considered to possess a unique blend of the four, they can be utilized to
individualize the methods used with individual children and establishing a class balance, as well as to help with
discipline.
Christian writer Tim LaHaye has attempted to repopularize the ancient temperaments through his books.
[18][19][20]
Psychologist and writer Florence Littauer describes the four personality types in her book Personality Plus.
See also Two-factor models of personality.
Cultural references
In 1946 George Balanchine choreographed a ballet he titled The Four Temperaments, set to music he
commissioned from Paul Hindemith. The music, and thus the ballet, is in five parts: a theme and four variations titled
Melancholic, Sanguine, Phlegmatic, and Choleric.
mile Zola consciously employed the four temperaments in Therese Raquin.
[21]
The Danish composer Carl Nielsen's (1865-1931) Symphony #2,(1901-02) Op.16 entitled "The Four
Temperaments" is structured upon the Four Temperaments.
See also
Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation
Enneagram of Personality
Table of similar systems of comparison of temperaments
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
Personality Plus
Five Temperaments
References
1. ^ van Sertima, Ivan (1992). The Golden Age of the Moor. Transaction Publishers. p. 17. ISBN 1560005815.
2. ^ Sudhoff, Karl (1926). Essays in the History of Medicine. Medical Life Press, New York. pp. 67, 87, 104.
3. ^ Boeree, C. George. "Early Medicine and Physiology" (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/neurophysio.html).
Retrieved 21 February 2013.
4. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1998). Galen's Prophecy: Temperament In Human Nature. New York: Basic Books.
ISBN 0465084052.
5. ^ Osborn L. Ac., David K. "INHERENT TEMPERAMENT"
(http://www.greekmedicine.net/b_p/Inherent_Temperament.html). Retrieved 21 February 2013.
6. ^ http://sun2.science.wayne.edu/~tpartrid/Manuscripts/HEETemperament1.25.02.doc
7. ^ Lutz, Peter L. (2002). The Rise of Experimental Biology: An Illustrated History. Humana Press. p. 60.
ISBN 0896038351.
8. ^ Nicholas Culpeper (1653) An Astrologo-Physical Discourse of the Human Virtues in the Body of Man
(http://www.skyscript.co.uk/astrodiscourse.html), transcribed and annotated by Deborah Houlding. Skyscript,
2009 (retrieved 16 November 2011). Originally published in Culpeper's Complete Herbal (English Physician).
London: Peter Cole, 1652.
9. ^ Nicholas Culpeper, Semeiotica Urania, or Astrological Judgement of Diseases. London: 1655. Reprint,
Nottingham: Ascella, 1994.
10. ^ Greenbaum, Dorian Gieseler (2005). Temperament: Astrology's Forgotten Key. Wessex Astrologer. pp. 42, 91.
ISBN 190240517X.
11. ^ Martindale, Anne E.; Martindale, Colin (1988). "Metaphorical equivalence of elements and temperaments:
Empirical studies of Bachelard's theory of imagination". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 55 (5): 836.
doi:10.1037/0022-3514.55.5.836 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1037%2F0022-3514.55.5.836).
12. ^ Lundin, Robert W. (1989). Alfred-Adler's Basic Concepts and Implications. Taylor and Francis. p. 54. ISBN 0-
915202-83-2.
13. ^ Lievegoed, Bernard. Man on the Threshold. Hawthorn Press. pp. 8081. ISBN 0950706264.
14. ^
a

b

c

d

e

f
Childs, Gilbert (2009). Understand Your Temperament. Rudolf Steiner Press. ISBN 9781855840256.
15. ^
a

b

c

d
Eysenck, Hans Jrgen (1967). The biological basis of personality. Thomas. pp. 35,39.
16. ^
a

b

c

d

e

f
Steiner, Rudolf (2008). The Four Temperaments. Rudolf Steiner Press. ISBN 9781855842052.
17. ^ http://www3.dbu.edu/jeanhumphreys/SocialPsych/smalleytrentpersonality.htm
18. ^ LaHaye, Tim (1966). The Spirit Controlled Temperament. Tyndale Publishing.
19. ^ LaHaye, Tim (1984). Your Temperament: Discover Its Potential. Tyndale Publishing. ISBN 0842362207.
20. ^ LaHaye, Tim. Why You Act the Way You Do. Tyndale Publishing. ISBN 0842382127.
21. ^ Zola, Preface to 'Therese Raquin
External links
Four Temperaments Test (http://personality-testing.info/tests/4T.php), personality test.
Arikha, Noga (2007). Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours
(http://www.passionsandtempers.com)
Helminen, Pivi (1999). Discovering Our Potential: An Introduction to Character Types
(http://www.uta.fi/FAST/AK11/SPE/ph-poten.html)
In Our Time (BBC Radio 4) episode on the four humours
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/inourtime_20071220.shtml) in MP3 format, 45 minutes
Rudolf Steiner (1909). The Four Temperaments (http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/19090304p01.html)
John T. Cocoris, Psy.D. Description of the 4 Primary Temperaments at fourtemperament.com
(http://fourtemperaments.com/Description.htm)
Descriptions of The Temperament Blends (http://fourtemperaments.com/Description2.htm)
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Categories: Personality typologies
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