What's My Temperament?

Temperament Theory

Temperament theory describes organizing patterns of personality. It is based on descriptions of behavior that go back over twenty-five centuries. Temperament theory tells us the "why" of behavior, including our motivators and sources of psychological stress.

Historically, the concept of temperament was part of the theory of the four humours, leading to a corresponding four temperaments (although some theories use a different number). The concept was explored by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Hermann Lotze.

Dr. David W. Keirsey drew upon the early models of temperament when developing the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. In 1978, Dr. David M. Keirsey published Please Understand Me, a best-selling book that described Temperament theory; a second edition was published in 1998. Dr. Keirsey launched Keirsey.com to provide access for individuals to take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter (KTS-II) online and gain a better understanding of themselves and others.

Linda Berens, a psychologist/consultant and student of Keirsey, has expanded on Keirsey's work, changing the names of the temperament groups slightly and applying temperament theory in many settings. Don Lowry created True Colors, a temperament profiling system that uses a different colors to describe each of the 4 temperaments.

Keirsey's, Berens', and Lowry's models all map onto the 16 Myers-Briggs types. The temperament models provides a simpler and more immediately accessible entry point to learning about type.


  • Linda Berens
    • Read descriptions of the 4 temperament patterns

Topic revision: r2 - 07 Apr 2016, VickiBrown
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