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Thread: MBTI and the "Four Temperaments"

  1. #1
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    Default MBTI and the "Four Temperaments"

    These point appearead in the thread about colors (the relation between MBTI – and Keirsey model – and the classical “four temperaments” – choleric, melancholic, phlegmatic and sanguine), but I think that it is better in is own thread (although these will imply that some arguments will have to be repeated).

    First, of course these depend of what we intend by “choleric”, “phlegmatic”, “melancholic” and “sanguine”.

    In the case of “sanguine” and “choleric” there are not big problems with the definition – “outgoing, talkative, easygoing, etc.” the first and “excitable, changeable, impulsive, etc.” the second.

    The problem is more with the definitions of “melancholic” and “phlegmatic” – I think that the traditional definitions are “melancholic - quiet, reserved, pessimistic, anxious, moody, etc.” and “phlegmatic - calm, even-tempered, reliable, controlled, peaceful, thoughtful, careful, etc.”.

    Or, if I will associate each temperament with a particular feeling, I think it wil be something like “sanguine – joy; choleric – anger; phlegmatic – calm; melancholic – sadness”.

    However, sometimes I see definitions of “melancholic” and “phlegmatic” that seems the inverse of the definitions that I am using.

    But, accepting these definitions, I think that the relation FT-MBTI will be something like:

    Sanguine – SP (I think that there is no disagreement about that)
    Phlegmatic – SJ
    Choleric – a mix of NT and EN
    Melancholic – a mix of NF and IN

    (Of course, if we define phlegmatic and melancholic in a different way, these will be different)

    Other point – one of the reasons given to consider the NF as “Phlegmatic” is that NF are supposed to be “diplomatic” (and Keirsey even considered “diplomatic intelligence” as the feature of NF). But is the NF really “diplomatic”? I associate much more being “diplomatic” with Extrovert Sensors than with NFs. I associate much more NF with “depressed poet who kills himself because of a love disgrace” (INF) or “charismatic revolutionary leader” (ENF), not with a “diplomat”.

    P.S. I hope that you could understand my English

  2. #2
    Member Array Eric B's Avatar
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    I use the two-factor matrix to define the temperaments:

    from the beginning, the behavior corresponding to both scales was noted in the temperaments.
    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 anciently acknowledged as 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)

    Response delay, which determines the speed with which one acts, became Introversion/Extraversion (short=E/long=I)
    Response sustain, which ends up determining how "critical" or "friendly" a person is, was the forerunner of People/task orientation, and later split further into Eysenck/FFM "Neuroticism". (short="people-oriented" or "stable"/long="task-oriented or "unstable").

    In the MBTI 16 types, two temperament matrices have actually been carved out from the letter groups. The Interaction Styles of Linda Berens are more like the old temperaments, using E/I and "directing/informing" (which basically maps to ST or NJ vs SF or NP).
    Then, there are Keirsey's "temperaments", which are more familiar. I have deduced that "response delay" in this matrix is "cooperative/pragmatic", and "response-sustain" is a "cross-factor" of sorts, also discovered by Berens: Structure vs Motive, which pairs SJ with NT, and SP with NF, respectively. Keirsey's matrix was actually C/Prg with MBTI S/N, but S/N did not fit either delay or sustain. Perception had been added as a temperament factor by Kant, which paired the Sanguine with the Melancholy and Phlegmatic with Choleric, allofwhich had formerly been opposites.

    In this comparison, it is agreed (with Keirsey) that SP is Sanguine, and SJ is Melancholic. It is NF and NT that are reversed. Keirsey made NF "choleric" because of its"enthusiasm", and NT "phlegmatic" because of it's "coolness". But using the old delay/sustain matrix suggests the reverse, evidenced by the NF's "diplomatic" skills set, and the NT's "strategic" skills set.
    Since other grouoings, the Interaction Styles, also correspond to the temperaments (Chart the Course-IST/INJ-Melancholic; In Charge-EST/ENJ-Choleric; Get Things Going-ESF/ENP-Sanguine; Behind the Scenes-ISF/INP-Phlegmatic), then those are what we look for with the classic temperament "social behaviors". (Choleric being enthusiastic, Phlegmatic being "cool"). The Keirseyan temperament groupings ("called "conative" by Berens, meaning about "action"), the Phlegmatic's "calmness" would be represented by the NF's desire for peace. The Choleric "enthusiasm" (which is about power) would basically translate into the NT's desire for "mastery and competence". Actually, Kant had said both Choleric and Phlegmatic were "cold-blooded", but they were cold in different ways.

    Then, there are some, following the suggestion above, who make SJ Phlegmatic and NF Melancholic. But the NF is not particularly "sad", and the SJ, not particularly "calm" either. The SJ's need for order and familiarity is classic Melancholic, however.

    This way, you end up with the following, which do fit the descriptions of those who use "temperament blends":

    ISTJ Pure Melancholy (My family and several friends)
    ISFJ Phlegmatic/Melancholy ("PhlegMel")
    INFJ Melancholy/Phlegmatic ("MelPhleg")
    INTJ Melancholy/Choleric ("MelChlor")
    ISTP Melancholy/Sanguine ("MelSan")
    ISFP Phlegmatic/Sanguine ("PhlegSan")
    INFP Pure Phlegmatic
    INTP Phlegmatic/Choleric ("PhlegChlor") (Xander's FIRO score was very close, and I basically fit both categories as well)
    ESTP Choleric/Sanguine ("ChlorSan")
    ESFP Pure Sanguine
    ENFP Sanguine/Phlegmatic ("SanPhleg")
    ENTP Sanguine/Choleric ("SanChlor")
    ESTJ Choleric/Melancholy ("ChlorMel")
    ESFJ Sanguine/Melancholy ("SanMel")
    ENFJ Choleric/Phlegmatic ("ChlorPhleg")
    ENTJ Pure Choleric

    Here are sites using these blends:

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