4 Types Of Temperament: Which One Do You Possess?

Last Update on July 5, 2024 : Published on May 4, 2021
Most common types of temperament

A person’s temperament is developed by encountering new surroundings, situations and people they meet. Every experience is capable of altering the way we think and act and is a decisive factor in maintaining emotions, reactivity, and self-regulation.

If you are wondering which type of temperament you belong to, let us explore it below. Before that, let’s also have an idea about what is temperament after which we can slide towards its maintenance.

What Is Temperament?

It is believed that the temperament of an individual develops at an early age and doesn’t change. According to various studies, temperament is constant and becomes a torchbearer to how you act and react towards a situation. In fact, it also becomes your personality trait.

While you read about temperament psychology, you may feel that you may be holding a negative outlook. Don’t worry as even though there is a permanent aspect of who you are, your experiences and built up aura of how you see the world changes your outlook towards the world. With this, you can make sure how to have a better future with self-equipped tools and a better mindset.

Temperament vs. Personality

Many people confuse temperament and personality with each other, but these two concepts are quite distinct from each other. Both of these concepts may influence our behaviors, emotions, and interactions with others, but it’s important to know the difference between these two. 

Temperament is the innate, biological patterns of behavior and the emotional response we have. Temperament is often understood as the foundation over which our personality takes shape and form. It is believed that temperament is present since birth and remains stable throughout life, unlike characteristics. You can include traits such as adaptability, emotional reaction intensity, and sensitivity into your temperament styles.

Now, on the other hand, personality is the set of characteristics, behaviors, and even thinking patterns that are developed when you’re exposed to environmental or social factors. Of course, personality is shaped by your temperament style as well, but personality is also shaped by your life experiences, cultural background, upbringing, and life choices. 

You can include traits like extroversion, introversion, openness, agreeableness, emotional stability, and more under your personality traits. 

In simple words, temperament may provide the ingredients for personality development and how you respond to the world around you. It acts as the basis around which you develop your personality and form a complex picture of who you are. 

Four Types Of Temperament:

Four Types Of Temperament

Psychologists have divided temperament into 4 major types. Interestingly, these temperament styles were named under humor earlier and were believed to behave in particular ways.

Remember, some people can have a combination of temperament styles that define their personality style. Here are the most common types of temperament styles, check them out and find which one is yours.

1. Sanguine

The most common temperament style, it can be found in men and women equally. Sanguine are usually people-oriented, outgoing, extroverted, talkative, and social. They are also the ones who do good things to others and encourage them to work in a team. Some people could also be called ‘Super Sanguine’ as they are extremely talkative and may make others nervous.

Sanguine Temperament Traits

They are the most versatile human beings and are involved in any human activity possible. A wide range of emotions, behaviors like playfulness, easy-going nature, carefree, hopefulness, and pretty much content could be seen with people having sanguine temperaments. In fact, they are constantly active in their lifestyle, expressive, affectionate, and build positive relationships with people around them.

Although they build connections very quickly, their conversation tends to break easily if it goes boring. This attention span is a matter of interest. Moreover, whatever is in their mind is on their tongue without having any filter in between. Competition and domination are other characteristics with the motto of being accepted in any form.

Prevention: Sanguine temperament people can be impulsive, forgetful, distractible, and self-absorbed. To prevent these weaknesses from harming your personality, you can take up tasks that interest you the most. Something that challenges you and makes you tick. These kinds of tasks will increase your confidence and keep dull moments away.

2. Phlegmatic

This type of temperament is also pretty common amongst people but interestingly, they can be called as the opposite of sanguine. People with such style are usually service-oriented, and introverted, but still, work but with others to achieve a common goal.

Phlegmatic Temperament Traits

Phlegmatics have a distinct set of characteristics and are easy-going, calm as well as unemotional. They are usually passive in nature which can be the reason for indecisiveness. However, they become usually happy if someone else is taking decisions for them. They do make friends easily but usually are slow in the beginning. What is best in them is their patient nature and good sticking closely to routine attitude.

Another way to identify people with phlegmatic temperament is their loyalty and capability to stick with people, no matter what anyone says. However, they usually don’t go back to the person if their trust is broken.

Prevention: Phlegmatic temperament personalities are slow responders, the opposite of sanguine temperament. They can be quite content with themselves, affectionate, and diplomatic, but they can also be shy, afraid of change, indecisive, not goal-oriented, and lazy. To prevent these weaknesses from taking over, you can learn to be patient, define your wants clearly, and think rationally before acting.

3. Melancholy

People with melancholic style can be considered as detail-oriented and quality cautious. Sometimes they are also considered as depressed but it is actually different than thought. They are usually in search of what is right rather than showing themselves right all the time, usually perfectionists.

Melancholy  Temperament Traits

One can say that melancholics are rule followers and are usually very careful when going in an unfamiliar environment. If situations are pretty unfavorable, they can even become aggressive. Their factual and logical attitude lets them plan everything in advanced detail so that they don’t face any sort of anxiety.

Usually, they are someone who worries about the future way too much, what others will think and forget to live in the present moment. When this temperament style people are about to make decisions, they will gather as much information as possible so that they can make right decisions. You can see their suspicious behavior and time taking behavior in trusting others.

Prevention: Melancholic temperament personalities can be thoughtful, organized, meticulous, and detail-oriented, but they can also be obsessive, prone to moodiness, difficult to please, and quite pessimistic. To prevent these weaknesses from taking over your personality, you can try to seek emotional support and positive evaluation from loved ones and engage in activities that bring you closer to social engagement.

4. Choleric

Let’s say, among the list of temperament styles, Choleric is the rarest one. And interestingly, females of this category are again most rare. Such people make ambitious goals and usually stick with them. They are so driven to success that they constantly move forward without much breaks and face opposition with a strong mindset of winning.

Choleric Temperament Traits

Such people are extroverted, display strong self-confidence, hard workers, independent and have strong will power. They are very direct in communication and keep an assertive tone, sometimes to the extent of rudeness. Such people do not empathize with others, make limited friends and are pretty much dominant over others.

Prevention: Choleric temperament personalities are ruling and dominant type personalities who are ambitious, leader-like, pragmatic, and confident in their skin, but they can also be quite aggressive, impatient, low on empathy, argumentative, and intolerant of others at times. To prevent such weaknesses, you can learn to be composed, take tasks that require creativity, learn to delegate tasks to others, and let go of your super control just a little.

How Does Temperament Affect Our Mental Health?

Temperament is the way we respond to the world and the situations that we face. The variation in temperament decides how we process emotions, regulate our behavior and what kind of feelings we experience when we are surrounded by our society and other people.

Temperament does have an impact on our mental well-being. It can be direct or indirect. There have been studies that prove that our personal, innate traits can directly contribute to mental disorders.

Since our temperaments guide us, they are responsible for our reactions in times of failure and success. For example, if your temperament makes you feel like you aren’t good enough (melancholic temperament type), you are most likely to develop mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, etc.)

Most personality disorders also link back to your temperament. This is because temperaments are the ones that form your personality. Now, we all have some type of temperament, but that doesn’t mean we are sure to develop a condition.

Temperaments are neither good nor bad, they are just some traits, and it’s on us how we use these traits. Any temperament that goes out of balance can result in a psychiatric condition.

Developing Positive Attitude

Which type of temperament style do you have? If you find yourself in a condition where you need to focus on positivity while leaving behind all the fears, you can be a torchbearer. Ask yourself, what changes can you make to change your path?

How Is Your Temperament Formed?

Now that you know what is temperament, it’s time to understand how it is formed! It’s not that hard, either. Your temperament is formed by a combination of genetic, social, and biological factors. Let’s take a look at how! 

  • Genetics: Your genetics can influence your hormonal activity, responses, and structure of the brain and it is found in various research studies that all the aforementioned changes can affect your temperament. Even your early years of brain development can influence your temperament.  
  • Social and Environmental Factors: Parenting styles, cultural background, and your childhood experiences can also play a huge role in shaping your temperament styles. When you grow up in a nurturing environment, it promotes healthy emotional development whereas toxic upbringing can impact your temperament negatively. 

Can You Have Two Temperaments?

If we talk about temperament, then generally speaking, we all have a dominant temperament. However, some people can show characteristics of multiple temperaments as well. In any case, it won’t be accurate to say that you can have two temperaments, simultaneously. The dominant temperament influences how you behave, but situational factors and even personality traits can cause some differences in your behavior.

Can Temperaments Change?

Temperaments remain stable over time because they are more or less influenced by genetic and biological factors. However, certain situations, experiences, and other factors can change how you express your temperament. For instance, an introvert might learn to participate in conversations more confidently in social interactions over time.

Which Temperament is Quick to Anger?

In general terms, the choleric temperament is said to be the one that’s quick to anger. If you have a choleric temperament, then you tend to be more assertive, decisive, and goal-oriented, but you can also become easily frustrated and angry when things don’t seem to go your way.

How Do I Know My Temperament?

Understanding your temperament styles can help you gain insight into your preferences and how you respond to different situations. You can check the guide listed in this article to know your temperament styles out of the four types of temperament. If you don’t know your temperament style, then you can use these ways to check your temperament; 

  • Try Self-Reflection: You can engage in self-reflection activities to understand your behavioral pattern, emotional responses, and your preferences in different situations. See how you interact or engage in social situations and how you cope with stress to know more about yourself. 
  • Take Tests or Self-Assessments: You can take the Big Five Personality Test or other temperament tests or self-assessments to know your temperament types or styles. These assessments can give you a rough idea of your traits and preferences. Please know that these self-assessments might not always be accurate. 
  • Seek Professional Guidance: In case, you want to know more about your temperament type but don’t want to take the self-assessments, you can seek professional help and guidance. A therapist can help give you insight into your temperament style as well as personality traits. 

Although you can’t exactly change your temperament, asking a counselor or therapist to guide you can certainly help. It can be done by connecting us at info@calmsage.com and we shall help you more.


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About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.

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