John T. Cocoris,
idea that behavior is related to a personís natural tendencies or temperament
has been around for at least 2,400 years. A handful of men have contributed
significantly to the development of this concept.
Hippocrates (470?-360? B.C.). Throughout history there have been many attempts
to explain why people are different. One of the first systems developed was
Astrology, which looked outside of man to explain the differences. There were
twelve "signs" symbolized by earth, air, fire and water. Hippocrates, however,
looked inside of man to explain the differences. He believed that behavior was
determined by the presence of an excessive amount of one of four fluids or
humors; yellow bile (Chlor); red bile or blood (Sangis);
white bile (Phlegm); black bile (Melan). These four humors were
thought to be related to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water.
Hippocrates, and other early Greeks, thought that an excess of one of the four
humors produced a particular temperament and behavior.
word "temperament" comes from the Latin word temperamentum and means
"right blending." The Greeks thought that a personís "temperament" was therefore
made up of a blending of these four fluids.
An excess of yellow bile resulted in a temperament believed to be
warm/hot and dry,
and associated with the element of fire [Choleric].
An excess of red bile resulted in a temperament believed to be
warm/hot and wet,
and associated with the element of air [Sanguine].
An excess of white bile resulted in a temperament believed to be
cool/cold and wet,
and associated with the element of water [Phlegmatic].
An excess of black bile resulted in a temperament believed to be
cool/cold and dry,
and associated with the element of earth [Melancholy].
Hippocrates and the early Greeks were accurate in their observations of
behavior but were incorrect about the origin of these tendencies (they are not
created by the excess of a fluid). Today we would say that they originate from
some genetic predisposition, although we cannot be certain.
(129? - 203?) was a Greek physician, who lived 600 years after Hippocrates and
was responsible for popularizing the temperaments during his time and relating
them to illness. He is credited with coining the terms, Choleric, Sanguine,
Phlegmatic and Melancholy.
Immual Kant (1724 - 1804) described the four temperaments in his book,
Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, 1798.
Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) was the first to dispute two fundamental
concepts that had existed since the time of Hippocrates. First, he rejected the
idea that the four "humors" were the cause of a personís temperament. Secondly,
he was the first to say that a person is influenced by two temperaments, one
primary and one secondary. Before Culpeper, it was believed that a person had
only one temperament.
William M. Marston (1893-1947) was the first to contribute scientific
evidence that people fit into one of four categories. He published Emotions of
Normal People in 1928 using the terms: Dominant, Influence, Steadiness and
Compliance. Marston studied the emotions of normal people because research had
centered around the emotions of abnormal people during his era. He observed
behavior and identified thirty-five words or phrases that characterized four
people according to their emotional response to a favorable and unfavorable
situation. A little known fact is that Marston was responsible for the invention
of the systolic blood-pressure test which led to the creation of the lie
detector. He also created the cartoon character, Wonder Woman.
Halsbey contributed penetrating insight into the behavior of the four
temperaments in his book, Temperament And The Christian Faith, in the 1930ís
using the terms, Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy.
John G. Geier built on the works of William M. Marston (1928),
Clarke (1940) and John Cleaver (1950). Walter Clarke developed the
Activity Vector Analysis using the four dimensions of Aggressive, Sociable,
Stable and Avoidant. John Cleaver created a 24 question forced-choice instrument
from the work of Walter Clarke.
Geier, building on the works of Marston, Cleaver and Clark, was the first to
develop (by factor analysis) an instrument that identified an individualís
behavioral style (temperament blend) and identified 15 classical patterns. These
are patterns that frequently reoccurred on his instrument. Dr. Geier developed
the Personal Profile System instrument in 1958 and eventually formed the company
Performax to market the materials to the business community (early 1960ís). His
DiSC profile enabled business companies to build a more effective team and match
a personís natural tendencies to a specific task. He used the terms: High "D"
(Dominant); High "i" (Influencing); High "S" (Steadiness); and High "C"
LaHaye was the first to popularize the concept to the Christian community.
Dr. LaHaye published the first of several books in the late 1970ís using the
terms, Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic and Melancholy.
Hans J. Eysenck wrote Personality and Individual Differences, A Natural
Science Approach, in 1985. Dr. Eysenck has written other books on the subject
including, The Biological Basis of Personality (1967).
have contributed to the temperament model of behavior, using different terms,
including, Plato (350 BC), Paracelsus (1530), Adickes (1905), Spranger (1914),
Kretschmer (1930), Adler (1937), Fromm (1947), Myers (1955) and Keirsey (1970).
ancient Greeks observed people and speculated on the reasons for their behavior.
Their observations were supported in later centuries by a wide variety of people
including physicians and philosophers. In the early 1900ís the scientific method
was applied by Marston with the same results. The concept has been observed for
centuries and verified by science that people fall into four categories, and
everyone describes the four basically the same.
Correlation of Terms
There have been many
different terms used to refer to the four temperaments. Below is a correlation
of some the more popular ones:
Sanguine Phlegmatic Melancholy
High "D" High "i" High "S"
© 2006, John T. Cocoris
About John Cocoris
Model of Behavior