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Evolution of Personality Lingo

Health and Wellness fused with Temperament Theory

Evolution of Personality Lingo
Is it useful for its intended purpose?

Hippocrates (460-370 BC)

Hippocrates Four Temperament Theory

It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has. 

– Hippocrates
Often referred to as the “Father of Western Medicine” – Hippocrates is credited as being one of the originators of temperament theory. He observed that people in general seemed to have one of four approaches to life: Phlegmatic, Choleric, Melancholic, or Sanguine. Each correlated with a body fluid or “humor”. He theorized that a preponderance of one of the four humors was a strong predictor of personality type.
Hippocrates’ aim in recording his observations of character traits was to gather information he believed could assist in determining how to best to treat illness.

Carl Jung (1920's)

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

– Carl Jung
Carl Jung (1920's)
Renowned psychologist Carl Jung is best known for his theory of psychological types. From years of observation and research, he proposed and developed the concepts of Extraversion and Introversion.
He defined the two attitudes of Extravert (E) and Introvert (I) as the focusing of our psychic energy outward or inward.
Jung also proposed two methods of gathering information and two ways of making decisions about that information.
Jung had a passion for understanding the mental mechanisms at work within us, his objective was geared towards helping people improve their mental health through what he called the process of individuation.

Myers-Briggs (1950's)

Myers-Briggs (1950's)

I dream that long after I'm gone, my work will go on helping people.

– Isabel Myers
Fascinated by the research of Jung, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers (mother-daughter team) developed the famous Myers/Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). One of the many ways they expanded the work of Jung was by adding two more functions. This addition of these two functions doubled the personality types designated by Jung: 8 x 2 = 16 personality types. Recognizing that using the four-fold combination of traits as descriptors for each type style would be quite a mouthful, they used specific letter combinations as a shortcut lingo for understanding their system.
Myers’s research goals were oriented towards offering clear pragmatic guidance in seeing our gifts and challenges and using this knowledge to live a life closer to one’s heart’s desires. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment was created in 1943 to help women entering the workforce during World War II find jobs that would be “most comfortable and effective” for them.

David Keirsey (1970's)

Our attempts to reshape others may produce change, but the change is distortion rather than transformation.

– David Keirsey
Embracing the two functions added by Myers-Briggs, Educational Psychologist, David Keirsey returned to classifying personality into four temperament types. In 1978, David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates published Please Understand Me using descriptors based on Greek Gods to represent each type: Apollonian, Promethean, Dionysian, and  Epimethean. Continuing to investigate personality differences and refine his theory of the four temperaments, Keirsey updated his terms in 1998 with the release his expanded book, Please Understand Me II. For ease of identification, Keirsey often refers to the letter abbreviations of the MBTI in conjunction with his personality temperament descriptors.
The four fundamental temperaments defined by Keirsey correspond to a subset of the letter-code combinations of the MBTI system.
Keirsey was interested in correlating observable behaviors (what we say and do) with temperament for the purpose of identifying seemingly “deviant” habits of children, parents, and teachers. He served as a consultant to both educators and psychologists for more than 20 years.

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