Temperament Theory (Temperament part 1): "Short" version

Long, technically detailed version

The theory of personality began with temperament, which has traditionally been measured in terms of expressive and responsive behavior. Expressive behavior is generally how much a person approaches others in interaction. Responsive behavior is how much a person wants to be approached by others. These are the terms employed by a modern version of temperament theory, but they have had various names throughout the centuries.

Factoring these two dimensions together generated four temperaments. Here are the basic descriptions:

Melancholy - has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, prone to genius, very creative, mind tends to work overtime, going over and over events of the past, needs alone time to regroup. (Also prone to "black moods").
Sanguine - fun loving, will leave in the middle of a chore or assignment if they find out there is something fun going on somewhere, never wants to grow up, stressed out if there are not places to go and people to see.
Choleric - a drive to greatness, but will step on your toes to get there, needs lots of appreciation along the way.
Phlegmatic - quite stubborn and set in his ways, uncomfortable with confrontation and seeks peace at all costs to avoid strife, feels he needs sleep to regroup but never gets enough, very annoying to the Choleric as this is the one temperament that cannot be coerced into doing something if they don't want to.

Here are more detailed descriptions of the temperaments: http://fourtemperaments.com/Description.htm

We see here, that two are very outgoing and energetic, the other two are slower paced, and two are more "serious", while the other two are less serious.

These temperaments (popularized in modern times by Tim LaHaye and others) were named after body fuids, or "humours" which were at the time believed to cause the associated behaviors. (Blood (sanguis or Gk. αιµα haima), yellow bile (cholera or Gk. χoλη, kholé), black bile (µeλας, melas, "black", + kholé), and phlegm). This is now known not to be the case, but the names stuck as a good correlator of those fluids to the traits associated with them.
The first form of this matrix tied the humors to the four elements.

Original Galen matrix:
wetdry
hotair/bloodfire/yellow bile
coldwater/phlegmearth/black bile

Basically, the more outgoing ones are "hot", the slow paced ones are "cold", the less serious are "wet", and the more serious are "dry". This latter scale actually makes sense in modern expression, people of the more serious temperaments do tend to be a bit more "dry" in speech. The outgoing and less serious temperament likewise also tends to be "light and airy".

The next version of the matrix focused directly on the person's behavior, in terms of the time it took for them to act or change their mood.

The sanguine temperament showed quick, impulsive and relatively brief reactions. (i.e. short delay, short sustain)
The choleric temperament manifested a short response time-delay, but the response was sustained for a relatively long time.
The melancholic temperament (renamed "Melancholy") exhibited a long response time-delay, and the response was sustained at length, if not, seemingly, permanently.
The Phlegmatic was characterized by a longer response-delay but the response was also short-lived.
(Evidence-based Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine I: History Francesco Chiappelli, Paolo Prolo and Olivia S. Cajulis)

So we can see the basis of the more or less "outgoing" and "serious" dimensions. The more outgoing are those with a short delay, reserved have a longer delay, people focused have shorter sustain, and thus hold onto both positive and negative emotions much less (so seem more open and "light"), while the task-focused do hold onto emotions longer, including negative ones, which often come to color the whole temperament.

Eventually, we would get what has become the most popular version of the factors: introversion/extroversion and people/task focus.
Introverts would be the more reserved types, extroverts would be the more outgoing and gregarious ones, people-focused would respond more to people, and task-focused would respond more to tasks and less to people. This one is important to consider, because we would think extroverts would be "people-focused", and perhaps introverts be "task-focused", but that is not necessarily the case. And this question comes up a lot in discussions on personality.

It was later determined that one dimension determined how a person expressed, while the other determined how much they wanted from others. While people can express themselves as introverts or extroverts, the truly people-focused are those who can be said to respond as extroverts (despite how they actually express), while the task-focused respond as introverts (again, despite how they express).
You would wonder why someone would approach others and not want from them. This is the Choleric temperament, and they express to others for a particular goal, and they respond when a criteria is met according to their goals. You would also wonder why someone would want and not express. This will be discussed a bit below.

The FIRO-B, created by Dr. William Schutz, (and once very popular) named the two dimensions "expressed" and "wanted", and mapped out generally nine behavioral groups based on the two factors, and adding moderate scales in each dimension (which is what pushed it from four to nine. You don't hear it much, but Galen also actually had nine temperaments, from moderate points on the scale, between hot and cold, and warm and dry, yielding five "balanced" temperaments, including one in the center that is balanced in both scales).
Schutz designed this system as a measurement of changeable behavior, rather than temperament or personality type, which are both presumed to be inborn. However, in the 1980s, the National Christian Counselors Association, Inc. founders Richard G. and Phyllis J. Arno began using the FIRO-B, and after extensive research, found that it could be used to determine inborn temperament! Under license of Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc. They renamed the questionnaire at first, the Temperament Analysis Profile, and then later, the Arno Profile System (APS).

One major development from the use of the moderate scales, was the discovery of a fifth temperament, in addition to the ancient four. The new temperament that was moderate in both scales was determined to be the familiar, ancient Phlegmatic. The Phlegmatic had always fit into the low expressive (introvert, long delay), and people-focused (responsive, short sustain) position of the matrix. However, while the Phlegmatic is not as extroverted as the Sanguine and Choleric, nor as task-oriented as the Choleric and Melancholy; he is neither as introverted as the Melancholy, nor as relationship oriented as the Sanguine. They can basically "take people or leave them". They both express moderately to people, and respond equally to people or tasks, depending on their low energy reserve, which is their real driving motivation. (Hence, not being very driven). Thus the Phlegmatic (which was even once defined by critics as the absence of temperament), is basically by definition a moderate temperament, or an "ambivert".

So the low expressive, high responsive area, which another FIRO-B expert, Dr. Leo Ryan, had called "Inhibited Individual" and "Openly Dependent" was deemed to be the previously unrecognized fifth temperament.
The Arnos called it Supine, meaning "lying on the back" or "with the face turned upward". (Think of a dog looking up to or rolling over for his master, or a servant slightly bowed before his master. So instead of body fluids, it's named after a body position).

So then this is the true "people-oriented introvert".
Basically, this temperament will by its very nature be rather elusive. (Perhaps the reason it went unrecognized for so long). Because of their low expressive behavior, they will at first glance on the surface look like Melancholies: very withdrawn and shy, if you don't approach them. But if you do approach them, and they feel secure with you; they will "open up", sometimes even being chatty like a Sanguine. This is the high "responsive" or "Wanted" trait. They like people and want to be accepted, but lack the mechanism (boldness) to express this need by approaching others, like the Sanguine does. Thus, they use tasks, like service to others, to try to win this acceptance.

A need to have people "read their minds" and know that they want interaction is a trait that is stressed in the APS definitions. This is from the low expression. They also harbor anger as "hurt feelings", and also need a personal invitation to activities when in a group. This may vary, according to blending with other temperaments, as will be discussed next.

Supines also tend to think of themselves as worthless, while others are worthy. Since they depend on acceptance by others, they have problems with guilt.

Other points from the Supine report is "likes to be with people, but they tend to stress him and wear him out (if he is with them for long periods of time). He needs to alternate between being with people, and doing tasks". Also, "tends to think a great deal, and needs time, throughout the day, to think and 'organize' thoughts".

Also, a common introversion trait is the building up of anger and exploding. So Supines will generally be nice, but if you cross them too much, then like Melancholies, they will react, and even possibly violently. Even if they do not feel appreciated enough, then they will bear a lot of resentment. The manuals even say "the murder mystery that states 'the butler did it' is the story of the faithful Supine who served his master well for years, felt used, and eventually reacted with murderous rage".

In LaHaye's system, you also had 12 blends of the temperaments: San-Mel, San-Chlor, San-Phleg, Mel-San, Mel-Chlor, Mel-Phleg, Chlor-San, Chlor-Mel, Chlor-Phleg, PhlegMel, PhlegSan, PhlegChlor; in addition to the four "pure" types. (Descriptions: http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Warfield2.html http://fourtemperaments.com/Description2.htm).
The first one in the list is said to be the "dominant" one, with the ratio usually something like 40/60%. Larger ratios would indicate a larger leaning towards one temperament. The posibility of three-way blends are also mentioned (and one of them is included in the second link)

In the APS, you also have blends between temperaments, but these are a bit more structured, with specific meanings. Like the rest of the matrix, this was inherited from FIRO: the three areas of interaction, which behavior and personality are divided into:

Inclusion (How much you generally include other people in your life and how much attention, contact, and recognition you want from others)
Control (How much influence and responsibility you need, and how much you want others to lead and establish procedures and policies), and
Affection; (How close and warm you are with others and to what extent you want others to show warmth and support to you).

Dr. Arno framed it in terms of a hypothetical interchange between two people, where one "approaches" another for some form of interaction in a relationship (including whether to have a relationship to begin with). You can either approach people or not approach many people, and you can want or not want many people to approach you. The three areas determine "Who is IN or OUT of the relationship" (meaning how many people, generally); "Who maintains the POWER and makes the DECISIONS for the relationship"; and "How emotionally CLOSE or FAR the relationship". (Temperament Theory p.43)

So you can approach a person to include them in your presence or activities, you can approach them to control them, and you can approach them for a deeper relationship, such as to give affection. You can also tend to not approach people for these reasons, and you can either want or not want people to approach you for these interactions.
The Wanted scales will indicate the strictness of criteria for accepting social inclusion, submitting to someone else's control, or deep personal interaction and affection.

A person can be one temperament in Inclusion, another one in Control, and yet another in Affection. The different temperaments will modify each other. Like someone with low expressed Inclusion and a high expressed Control will normally be very reserved, but will at times be quick to approach others, for some course of action or leadership! A person could also be the same temperament in all three, in which we would say they were a "pure" temperament.

INCLUSION: Who is IN or OUT of the relationshipCONTROL: Who maintains the POWER and makes the DECISIONS for the relationshipAFFECTION: How emotionally CLOSE or FAR the relationship
MelancholyEveryone OUT, except for "Exclusive Club""I don't control you, so please don't try to control me"generally, emotionally FAR
Sanguine Everybody "IN" ("Come on in!")Controls or being controlled according to "SWING"Emotionally CLOSE
Choleric Don't call me; I'll call you; until then, OUT! (except for "Exclusive Club")"I'M the Boss!"emotionally FAR, unless I approach you for my purposes
Supine Everybody IN; but you must reach out and invite me!"YOU'RE the Boss!"emotionally CLOSE, but you must reach out to me
Phlegmatic "Take 'em or leave 'em"Democratic; "Let's all be Boss!"moderate; take it or leave it

There is also another kind of blend, WITHIN each of the areas, of the Phlegmatic with the other four temperaments. These are people EITHER whose expressive OR responsive needs are moderate. The blends lie in pairs midway along the edges of the matrix. (Where Leo Ryan's FIRO charts had only one group in moderate range for a total of nine, except in Control, where there is a tenth division, also fairly moderate). Which temperament blending each half of the pair falls into is determined by the driving need. They will share the driving need of the temperament is it blended with.

The Arno manuals specifically address the Phlegmatic Melancholy and the Phlegmatic Choleric as examples. Both express themselves moderately like a Phlegmatic, but respond negatively like either a Melancholy or Choleric, and will behave very similarly; yet the PM is driven by the Melancholy's fear, and the PC is driven by the Choleric's goals.
So the Phlegmatic Melancholy will be moderately more sociable than a pure Melancholy, but otherwise does not have much of a real need for interaction. A Melancholy Phlegmatic on the other hand expresses himself as a Melancholy but wants the same as a Phlegmatic. This person has a moderate need for interaction, but is still not very expressive of it. He will be bordering on the Supine Phlegmatic, who will behave similarly.

The blends are:
Phlegmatic Melancholy (express as a Phlegmatic; respond as a Melancholy)
Phlegmatic Choleric (express as a Phlegmatic; respond as a Choleric)
Choleric Phlegmatic (express as a Choleric; respond as a Phlegmatic)
Sanguine Phlegmatic (express as a Sanguine; respond as a Phlegmatic)
Phlegmatic Sanguine (express as a Phlegmatic; respond as a Sanguine)
Phlegmatic Supine (express as a Phlegmatic; respond as a Supine)
Supine Phlegmatic (express as a Supine; respond as a Phlegmatic)
Melancholy Phlegmatic (express as a Melancholy; respond as a Phlegmatic)

There are also "compulsive" variations, which combine the highest or lowest expressed and wanted scores. these are the more energized versions of the four temperaments besides Phlegmatic (which is in dead center), and are thus in the extreme corners of the matrix.
While temperament theory has sometimes been criticized for "pigeonholing" people into such a limited number of types, not only do you have the 125 basic combinations of five in three areas, or 2197 when the eight Phlegmatic blends are divided, but up to 4913 when the four additional compulsives are divided.


Basic temperament matrix. Areas between temperaments are Phlegmatic blends. Three "areas" (different colors) are stacked on top of each other

Correlation with MBTI

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (also owned by CPP, Inc.) has become the most popular personality assessment, derived from carl Jung's theories of cognitive functions. A version of type theory is David Keirsey's four temperaments, which consist of two letter groupings of four of the types each. Noting that both systems also uses the factor of introversion/extraversion (the latter term spelled by Carl Jung with the "a"), and that the T/F and J/P dichotimies seemd to fit the "responsive" scales somehow, and that the 16 types overall seemed like some sort of temperament combinations, I looked for a connection.

I determined that the 16 types were indeed Inclusion-Control combinations, with Keirsey's temperaments representing Control (though with some clarification as to which temperament is which in the correlation back to Galen), and another grouping of types, Linda Berens' Interaction Styles, representing Inclusion. They factor out as follows:

I/E (Interaction Styles) is "expressed Inclusion"
Informing/Directing (Interaction Styles; S + T/F, N + J/P) is "wanted Inclusion"
Cooperative/Pragmatic (Keirsey; pairs SP/NT and SJ/NF) is "expressed Control"
Structure/Motive (Berens addition to Keirsey; pairs SJ/NT and NF/SP) is "wanted Control".

Here are the "blended temperaments" that result. (The fifth temperament, Supine, is interchangeable with Phlegmatic).

ISTJ: pure Melancholy ISFJ: SupineMelancholy INFJ: MelancholySupine INTJ: MelancholyCholeric
ISTP: MelancholySanguine ISFP: SupineSanguine INFP: Phlegmatic and/or Supine INTP: PhlegmaticCholeric
ESTP: CholericSanguine ESFP: pure Sanguine ENFP: SanguineSupine ENTP: SanguineCholeric
ESTJ: CholericMelancholy ESFJ: SanguineMelancholy ENFJ: CholericSupine ENTJ: pure Choleric

Statistical correlations between FIRO and MBTI, and my own informal studies on people online yielded results supporting this to some extent. Including people being uncertain on some of the MBTI dichotomies identifying with the moderate (inbetween) temperaments in APS!

This is discussed further in the next part of the series (short or long versions), and in a separate article on it (links below)

Arno Profile System info:

Temperaments.info (Pastoral Counseling Center) Most online info on APS besides this page, and questionnaire can be ordered online.
•Descriptions of each temperament variation in each of the the three areas

APS Website (Basic descriptions, but otherwise for licensed users)
National Christian Counselors Association (the licensing ministry of the Arno's)

There is no free official test, due to the licensing agreement with CPP, Inc, owners of FIRO-B, which this is derived from).

Free unofficial "traits chart" version (From www.mindtweaks.com)

Interactive Graphic of temperaments by MindTweaks

Click for more...

Temperament for dummies long version
Part 2 MBTI, type and cognitive processes "Super Short version"
APS-MBTI Correlation (full, short version)


İ ETB 2011