Temperament psychology is one of the oldest methods of explaining human behaviour.

It refers to the ancient Greek theory of humorism. Each person contains four bodily fluids (humors) in varying proportions. Each humor represents a different temperament. It is these humors that give us the basis for temperament psychology:

  • Blood – Sanguine
  • Phlegm – Phlegmatic
  • Yellow bile – Choleric
  • Black bile – Melancholic

To understand these temperaments and humors in more basic terms:

  • Sanguine and Choleric can be described as ‘Extroverted Personalities’.
  • Phlegmatic and Melancholic can be described as ‘Introverted Personalities’.

So what exactly are the Four Temperament Psychology Types?

SANGUINE TEMPERAMENT PSYCHOLOGY TYPE

Represents CHILDHOOD, SPRING and AIR

Main attributes:

  • Carefree, impulsive, talkative
  • Curious, energetic, sociable
  • Cheerful, optimistic, risk-taker
  • Prefers groups, makes friends easily and is outgoing
  • Easily bored, hates monotony, welcomes change
  • Changeable moods, has ups and downs

The Sanguine temperament personality type is known as ‘The Talker’.

They are typically extroverted and enthusiastic and have a wide circle of friends. Childlike at heart, they have an innocent curiosity about them. They don’t mind a frank discussion. They will often have deep and meaningful chats with their nearest and dearest. Embarrassment doesn’t bother them.

You’ll find them living a luxurious lifestyle. That’s because these types love the finer things in life. Whether its expensive cars, the best hotels, or designer clothes. Despite being decisive and extrovert, Sanguines prefer to follow rather than lead a group. They’re also pretty creative. This can be in any form, whether it’s art, poetry, music, writing, film-making, theatre or business.

Friends and Family

They love to be the centre of attention and they’ll have loads of friends. They’ll be the ones in the middle of a party, holding court with a crowd around them laughing. This personality type is kind and warm-hearted. People gravitate to Sanguines; they’re just like magnets. They prefer a wide circle of friends, rather than just a one or two best friends.

Love and Partners

Sanguines love anything to do with the senses. As such, they’ll want to take you to the best restaurants, view exotic artists, and go to unusual musical acts. In other words, experience life to the full. This is why, when it comes to dating and partners, they are better off with other Sanguines who can share their passion.

Negative Traits

Sanguines don’t place a lot of importance on punctuality. Invariably, Sanguines are always turning up late. As they are impulsive types, they can be susceptible to addiction. For example, gambling, smoking, drugs or alcohol.

Sanguines find boredom intolerable, so they inevitably seek out thrills or behaviours that appease it. This is another way they’re susceptible to addiction. Sanguines are fun-loving but forget they have responsibilities. Their feelings and desires come before duty or obligations.

PHLEGMATIC TEMPERAMENT PSYCHOLOGY TYPE

Represents DECREPITUDE, AUTUMN and WATER

Main Attributes:

  • Cool, calm, collected
  • Shy, reserved, distant
  • Deliberate, well-balanced, unassuming
  • Empathetic, kind, content with life
  • Easy-going, imaginative, relaxed
  • Slow, determined, overcautious, dislikes change

The Phlegmatic temperament type is known as ‘The Watcher’.

Typically reserved and quiet, these guys are in no rush. Actually, when I say guys, this temperament personality is most often a female. And a quiet, peaceful one at that. Quite the opposite to our Sanguine friends in fact.

The Phlegmatic type can be described as inoffensive and adaptable. They are good at seeing the bigger picture. Even so, despite the fact they avoid conflict, you’ll often find them mediating and getting people to compromise. They’ll use their clever wit to diffuse an awkward situation.

Friends and Family

This personality type has a lot of friends and stays close to their family. Tactile and affectionate, you could call them a ‘people person’. They strive for peace and unity. They want everything to be stable. As such, they’ll do everything in their power to get people to cooperate in order to achieve this.

Phlegmatic types are great knowledge-seekers. They, like our Sanguine friends, have a thirst and a curiosity about the world. However, Phlegmatic types use their knowledge as a way to help others. For example, training to become a doctor or therapist or working in social services.

Love and Partners

Phlegmatics take dating very seriously. They search for ‘The One’. Therefore, you won’t ever find them on a speed-dating scene. For them, dating means long-term commitment and then marriage. Once these types give themselves to another they form a deep and intimate bond. As a result, they need a partner that feels the same way.

Negative Traits

Phlegmatics are renowned for doing good things. However, they can become a little judgemental and self-righteous. They dislike conflict so much that this can lead to some passive-aggressive behaviour. This involves refusing to change or remaining uninvolved.

CHOLERIC TEMPERAMENT PSYCHOLOGY TYPE

Represents MANHOOD, SUMMER and FIRE

Main Attributes:

  • Bold, leads, composed
  • Argumentative, persuasive, forward
  • Decisive, aggressive, enthusiastic
  • Self-reliant, impulsive, perseveres
  • Ambitious, narcissistic, controlling
  • Sensitive, deceitful, independent

The Choleric temperament is known as ‘The Doer’.

Think of your archetypal Alpha-male. That sums up the Choleric very well. These types are leaders and the strongest of all the Temperament Psychology types. These are hard-working individuals who are known for persevering until they reach their goals.

They are focused, driven and pretty insensitive to the feelings of others. They want results and they don’t care if some people get hurt along the way.

Strongminded and resolute, the Choleric personality exudes confidence. Typically they are men and they’ll assume demanding roles. They can be extremely charismatic and you’d definitely feel safe in their company.

Friends and Family

On a personal note, this type doesn’t have many friends, although they could use a few now and then. They need to be brought down a peg or two. The problem is that Cholerics cannot do small talk. They find it tedious, boring and unnecessary to get the job done, which is all they care about.

They do have one or two very close friends that they enjoy deep and meaningful conversations with. But these relationships have taken a long time to flourish. This is because your typical Choleric is a natural sceptic.

Love and Partners

Cholerics approach dating and love the same way as most of the rest of their lives, in a pragmatic and goal-orientated way. They’ll look for a suitable partner who fits their needs. Then they’ll date (interview) them to see if they’re a good match.

They want someone who has the same interests as them. However, even though they are quite inexpressive, they’ll look for a partner that is. As a result, the Phlegmatic type is a good match for them.

Negative Traits

Cholerics can be bossy and domineering. They are particularly insensitive to other’s feelings. They especially don’t work well if they are the subordinate. They need to be in charge, otherwise, they’ll clash with authority.

They can also be subject to dark mood swings. They’re prone to depression which can be deep and long-lasting.

MELANCHOLIC TEMPERAMENT PSYCHOLOGY TYPE

Represents OLD AGE, WINTER and EARTH

Main Attributes:

  • Introverted, deprecating, shy
  • Low self-esteem, loner, moody
  • Sensitive, worrier, easily upset
  • Modest, timid, detached
  • Reserved, easily depressed, indecisive
  • Creative, analytical, deep thinkers

The Melancholy temperament is known as ‘The Thinker’.

This is a thoughtful soul who analyses details and worries about the tiniest little thing. They won’t be the ones to start up a conversation, they’re just too shy. They don’t have a lot of self-confidence so they prefer to work and be alone, most of the time.

They tend to detach themselves from the rest of society. Regarded as loners, but this is how they like to live their lives. They will take their time if they have to make a decision. In some cases, they might even be over cautious. This is a very creative type. As such, you’ll often find them working in solitary pursuits such as art, writing, music or the theatre.

Friends and Family

As for friends, the Melancholy is quite self-reliant when it comes to that aspect. However, they will have one or two best friends that they’ve known for a very long time. And once they’ve made friends with you, it’s likely that you’ll be a friend for life.

As the name suggests, Melancholy types are prone, more than the other temperament personalities, to bouts of depression. They are highly empathetic, which means they feel the suffering of others acutely.

Love and Partners

Melancholics are also pragmatic about dating. On the other hand, they are more traditional and down-to-earth when it comes to choosing a partner. This type will settle for friendship over passion every day of the week.

They know that if a relationship has any chance of surviving, you have to be best friends with your partner. Passion dies, friendship can live on.

Negative Traits

Melancholics can be quite judgemental. They hate self-promotion for instance. You won’t ever find them ‘blowing their own trumpet’. In fact, they find others that do extremely distasteful. They are also terrible hypochondriacs. The slightest ache or pain and it’s game over.

If you want to find out what your temperament personality type is, you can take the test here.

References:

  1. https://www.nlm.nih.gov
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org
  3. Image via WikiCommonsan 18th-century depiction of the four temperaments: Phlegmatic and choleric (above), Sanguine and melancholic (below).
Janey Davies, B.A. (Hons)

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Avatar
    SS

    WOW! Unbelievable, read the 4 types of Temperaments; However, I can’t seem to fit into anyone on the whole! I have few bits from all four types, so where does that leave me?
    Will appreciate if either a reader or a contributor to these forums or the author can help me
    Thanks

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