Personality refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas: One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.

Personality can be measured using personality tests. A personality test is a questionnaire or other standardized instrument designed to reveal aspects of an individual’s character or psychological makeup. Some examples of personality tests include, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the MMPI, and a number of tests based on the Five Factor Model of personality, such as the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, the Big Five Personality Inventory.


Since the days of Ancient Greece and continuing onwards to the present day, it was confirmed that there are four different types of personality. These are broad basic personality types that are usually present in a unique mix that defines how one thinks, feels and behaves.

These personality types are –

  • Sanguine
  • Phlegmatic
  • Choleric
  • Melancholic

Long ago, each of these types was associated with a dominant humor present in the body: sanguine – blood humor, phlegmatic – phlegm humor, choleric – yellow bile humor, melancholic – black bile humor.

Additionally to that, the latest research shows that these four basic temperaments are associated with chemicals, like dopamine (for sanguine type), estrogen (for phlegmatic type), testosterone (for choleric type) and serotonin (for melancholic type). Temperament, is the balance of one’s personality. These are biologically based tendencies that has been inherited from one’s parents. This is their disposition to think and feel in a certain way that appeared from their early childhood.

The Sanguine Type

This type is characterized by spontaneity, optimism, enthusiasm, high energy, mental flexibility, novelty seeking, impulsiveness and curiosity. These traits are associated with specific genes in the dopamine system. These people often have very expressive faces and love using words like “adventure”, “energy”, “new”, “fun”, “active”, “travel” and similar.

The Phlegmatic Type

These people are mainly defined by their social skills, such as their ability to express themselves and read other people face expressions and body language. They do well at connecting facts and seeing “the big picture”. They are nurturing, sympathetic, agreeable and emotionally expressive. Some of these character traits are linked with estrogen that is present in both men and women. Physically one can recognize them by their smooth skin, full lips, round faces and small noses. Their favorite words are “passion”, “passionate”, “sensitive” and “sweet”.

The Choleric Type

This type is associated with testosterone, which is also present in men and women, but more so in men. These people are direct, focused, tough, analytical, logical and strategic. They have a great deal of courage and like to compete, often against each other. They often have square jaws, high cheekbones and high foreheads and love to use words like “intellect”, “ambition” and “challenge”.

The Melancholic Type

Melancholics tend to be calm, loyal and orderly, just as their personality name sounds. They are cautious and conventional. These men and women inherited genes in the serotonin system and their favourite words are “family”, “loyal”, “respect”, “caring”, “values” and “moral”.

Most people are unique blend of four different types of personality, where all of the traits are present to some extent. However, some of these traits will be predominant. The predominant type will be considered as the main temperament and while one most probably displays all four temperaments to some extent; they still can easily identify two leading temperaments – your basic temperament and your secondary temperament.

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