The four personality temperaments

The Four Temperaments

The idea of personality temperaments can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who devised the system of the Four Humors (Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholic and Phlegmatic,) and used it as an integral part in his medical treatment. It was a wildly popular type model that was used for centuries in medicine, and branched out into other arenas. Even Shakespeare used the Four Humors to create personality in his characters.

Today, we have moved on from the ancient model, but still find merit in the idea of sorting personality types into four groups. David Keirsey has done some of the important recent work in this area, associating temperament with Myers-Briggs types. His observations have allowed him to define four distinct temperament categories. Each of the sixteen personality types fits into one of these temperament categories. The titles used here for the temperament types, and the individual personality types listed within each temperament, are Keirsey's own descriptions. You'll notice that they do not match our labels for the types.

SJ - "The Guardians"

Keirsey describes the SJ group's primary objective as "Security Seeking". The SJ grouping includes the types:

SP - "The Artisans"

Keirsey describes the SP group's primary objective as "Sensation Seeking". The SP grouping includes the types:

NT - "The Rationals"

Keirsey describes the NT group's primary objective as "Knowledge Seeking". The NT grouping includes the types:

NF - "The Idealists"

Keirsey describes the NF group's primary objective as "Identity Seeking". The NF grouping includes the types: