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Five Temperaments

Five temperaments is a theory in psychology, that ex- (factor analysis), and his research led him to believe that
pands upon the Four Temperaments proposed in ancient temperament is biologically based.
medical theory.
The development of a theory of five temperaments begins 1.1 Development of related “two factor”
with the two-factor models of personality and the work
of the late William Schutz, and his FIRO-B program. It
models and the regaining popularity of
is a measure of interpersonal relations orientations that the ancient temperaments
calculates a person’s behavior patterns based on the scor-
ing of a questionnaire. Although FIRO-B does not speak
in terms of “temperament”, this system of analysis graded
questionnaires on two scales in three dimensions of inter-
personal relations. When paired with temperament the-
ory, a measurement of five temperaments resulted.[1]

1 History and the ancient four tem-

Five Temperament theory has its roots in the ancient four
humors theory of the Greek Historian Hippocrates (460-
370 BC), who believed certain human behaviors were
caused by body fluids (called “humors”): blood (san-
guis), [yellow] bile (cholera or Gk. χολη, kholé) black
bile (μελας, melas, “black”, + χολη, kholé, “bile”); and
phlegm. Next, Galen (131-200 AD) developed the first
typology of temperament in his dissertation De Temper- Simple emoticons of the five temperaments: Sanguine (top right),
Choleric (bottom right), Melancholy (bottom left), and Phleg-
amentis, and searched for physiological reasons for dif-
matic (centre), with the new temperament Supine (top left) and
ferent behaviors in humans. In The Canon of Medicine,
Phlegmatic blends in between.
Avicenna (980-1037) then extended the theory of tem-
peraments to encompass "emotional aspects, mental ca- From the beginning, with Galen’s ancient temperaments,
pacity, moral attitudes, self-awareness, movements and it was observed that pairs of temperaments shared certain
dreams.”[2] traits in common.
This is also related to the classical elements of air, water,
earth, and fire; as sanguine, phlegmatic, melancholic, and • sanguine quick, impulsive, and relatively short-
choleric, respectively. They made up a matrix of hot/cold lived reactions. (hot/wet)
and dry/wet taken from the Four Elements.[3] There were
also intermediate scales for balance between each pole, • phlegmatic a longer response-delay, but short-lived
yielding a total of nine temperaments. Four were the response. (cold/wet)
original humors, and five were balanced in one or both
• choleric short response time-delay, but response
sustained for a relatively long time. (hot/dry)
Nicholas Culpeper (1616–1654) disregarded the idea
of fluids as defining human behavior, and Maimonides • melancholic (Also called “Melancholy”) long re-
(1135–1204), Immanuel Kant (1724–1804), Alfred sponse time-delay, response sustained at length, if
Adler (1879–1937), and Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) all not, seemingly, permanently. (cold/dry)[6]
theorized on the four temperaments and greatly shaped
our modern theories of temperament. Hans Eysenck Therefore, it was evident that the sanguine and choleric
(1916–1997) was one of the first psychologists to analyze shared a common trait: quickness of response, while
personality differences using a psycho-statistical method the melancholy and phlegmatic shared the opposite, a


longer response. The melancholy and choleric, however, Schutz was emphatic that all FIRO scores in themselves
shared a sustained response, and the sanguine and phleg- “Are not terminal — they can and do change”, and that
matic shared a short-lived response. That meant that they “Do not encourage typology” [10] (and thus contra-
the Choleric and melancholy both would tend to hang dicted the notion of inborn temperament). However, the
on to emotions like anger, and thus appear more serious four ancient temperaments were eventually mapped to the
and critical than the fun-loving sanguine, and the peace- FIRO-B scales, including the three separate temperament
ful phlegmatic. However, the choleric would be charac- grids for individuals’ scores in each area.
terized by quick expressions of anger, while the melan- A Melancholy tends to be an introverted loner, and in the
choly would build up anger slowly, silently, before ex-
area of “control” such a person would exhibit a low need
ploding. Also, the melancholy and sanguine would be sort to control others, and also have a low tolerance of control
of "opposites", as the choleric and phlegmatic, since they
by others (i.e. “dependency”). In the areas of inclusion
have opposite traits. and affection, such people would display a low need to in-
As the twentieth century progressed, numerous other in- clude or be close to others, and a low need to be included
struments were devised measuring not only temperament, by others.
but also various individual aspects of personality and A Choleric, however, is an extroverted "leader"-type who,
behavior, and several began using factors that would cor- in the area of control, has a high need to control others,
respond to the delay and sustain behaviors; usually, forms but a low tolerance of others controlling him. He also
of Extroversion and a developing category of people ver- has a high need to include or be close to others, but a
sus task focus (eventually embodied as "Agreeableness"). low level of "responsiveness" (used as another term for
Examples include DiSC assessment system and Social “wanted” behavior) to them. He tends to be a “user”, and
styles. In both of these, the four behaviors or styles re- only relates to people according to his own terms, which
sembled the key characteristics of the ancient four tem- are usually goal-oriented.
peraments: the Choleric’s extroversion and seriousness;
A Sanguine is an extrovert who has a high need to in-
the Melancholy’s introversion and seriousness; the San-
clude and be close to others, but unlike the Choleric, the
guine’s extroversion and sociability, and the Phlegmatic’s
Sanguine genuinely likes being around people just for the
sake of socialization. The Sanguine also “swings” be-
As personality typing increased, Christian writer and tween both control and dependency.
speaker Tim LaHaye helped repopularize the ancient
temperaments beginning in his books.[7][8][9]
Another addition to the two factor models was the cre- 1.3 From four to five
ation of a 10 by 10 square grid developed by Robert R.
Blake and Jane Mouton in their Managerial Grid Model The low scores in both “wanted” and “expressed” would
introduced in 1964. This matrix graded from 0 to 9, correspond to the Melancholy. A high score in “ex-
the factors of “Concern for People” and “Concern for pressed” with a low score in “wanted” corresponds to
Production”, allowing a moderate range of scores, which Choleric. A high score on both scales corresponds to the
yielded five “leadership styles”. The Thomas Kilmann Sanguine.
Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) used a version of this
So the temperaments were divided between introverts,
with “Assertiveness” and “Cooperativeness” as the two
extroverts, and in the other dimension, "relationship-
factors, and an intermediate score in both scales likewise
oriented", and "task-oriented". In the older model, the
resulting in a fifth mode directly in the center of the grid.
fourth temperament, Phlegmatic, had generally been re-
garded as “introverted” like the Melancholy, yet more
“agreeable”, like the Sanguine. For example, the “slow
1.2 The FIRO-B connection
response/short-lived sustain” of the original conception,
FIRO-B was another such two-factor system, originally where it shares one factor with the Sanguine, and the
created by Dr. Schutz in 1958, using the same scales cor- other with the Melancholy. In the other instruments us-
responding to extroversion/introversion and people/task ing people/task-orientation, the type that holds the corre-
focus. The difference now was that there were three such sponding place in respect to the other types (such as So-
matrices. These three areas of interaction are Inclusion, cial Styles’ “Amiable” or Adler’s “Leaning”) is also gen-
Control, and Affection. Note that these areas include erally correlated with the Phlegmatic in comparisons.
the two familiar scales: how you want to relate to others However, while the Phlegmatic is not as extroverted as
(called "expressed behavior”), and how you want them to the Sanguine and Choleric, nor as serious as the Melan-
relate to you (called "wanted behavior”). Scores in these choly and Choleric; he is neither as introverted as the
scales range from 0 to 9. In 1977, “locator charts” were Melancholy, nor as relationship-oriented as the Sanguine.
produced for each area by Leo Ryan, providing a map of This created a problem whereby a “middle-of-the-road”
the various scores, following the Managerial Grid model; temperament was needed to complete the list of tem-
with unofficial names assigned to different score ranges. peraments. A new temperament was created as a neu-

tral, balanced temperament. However, the new tempera- 4 References

ment’s lack of expression and personality was similar to
the Phlegmatic, so the traits the Phlegmatic and the fifth [1] History and Development of the Arno Profile System
temperament shared were removed from the Phlegmatic,
and the remaining traits were renamed to Supine while [2] Lutz, Peter L. (2002). The Rise of Experimental Biology:
An Illustrated History. Humana Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-
the fifth temperament became known as the Phlegmatic.

[3] C. George Boeree. “Early Medicine and Physiology”.

1.4 Comparison of fifth temperament to Retrieved 2013-04-15.
the phlegmatic [4] Kagan, Jerome (1998). Galen’s Prophecy: Temperament
In Human Nature. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-
The Phlegmatic also is peaceful at heart, and is one rea- 08405-2.
son the Phlegmatic had held the place in the older four
[5] “Inherent Temperament”. Greek Medicine. Retrieved
temperament model the Supine holds in the five temper- 2013-04-15.
ament model. The difference is that the Supine is more
“needy” for acceptance (or control) from people, yet less [6] Chiappelli, Francesco; Paolo Prolo; Olivia S Cajulis (De-
able to initiate and express this need to them than the cember 2005). “Evidence-based research in complemen-
Phlegmatic. Supines are often frustrated because they tary and alternative medicine I: history”. Evidence-based
expect people to know they want interaction, while the Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2 (4): 453–
458. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh106. ISSN 1741-427X. PMC
Phlegmatic expresses a moderate need, and wants only
1297495. PMID 16322801.
the same moderate amount in return.
Four temperament theories such as LaHaye’s often depict [7] The Spirit Controlled Temperament. Illinois: Tyndale Pub-
lishing. 1966.
the Phlegmatic as being very fearful (according to La-
Haye, “he is a worrier by nature”, which is what “keeps [8] LaHaye, Tim (1984). Your Temperament: Discover Its Po-
him from venturing out on his own to make full use of his tential. Tyndale Publishing. ISBN 0-8423-6220-7.
[9] LaHaye 1984.

[10] Thompson, Henry L.. “FIRO Element B and Psychologi-

cal Type”.
2 Driving needs
[11] LaHaye 1984, pp. 81–82.
Each of the four corner temperaments has a driving need [12] Arno & Arno 2002, p. 83.
that energizes its behavior.
[13] Arno & Arno 2002, p. 140.
For the Melancholic, the motivation is fear of rejection
and/or the unknown. They have a low self-esteem and, [14] Arno & Arno 2002, p. 105.
figuring that others do not like them, they reject others
[15] Arno & Arno 2002, p. 156.
The Supine also has low self-esteem, but is driven to try Sources
to gain acceptance by liking and serving others.[13]
The Sanguine is driven by the need for attention, and tries • Arno, Richard Gene; Arno, Phyllis Jean (2002).
to sell themselves through their charm, and accepts others The Missing Link: Revealing Spiritual Genetics. pp.
before those others can reject them. Their self-esteem 83, 105, 140, and 156.
crashes if they are nevertheless rejected. Yet, they will
regain the confidence to keep trying to impress others. • LaHaye, Tim (1984). Why You Act the Way You
Do. Tyndale House Publishers. pp. 81–82. ISBN
The Choleric is motivated by their goals, in which other
people are tools to be used.[14]
The Phlegmatic’s lack of a motivation becomes their driv-
ing need: to protect their low energy reserve.[15]

3 See also

• Table of similar systems of comparison of temper-


5 Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses

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