October 25, 2013 Associate Professor of Anatomy and Physiology (North-Caucasus Federal University) Larisa Viktorovna Litvinova read a public lecture on «Using of the peculiarities of four temperaments at forming relationships at workplace and at private life». The event was held at the Management of non-departmental guard Ministry of Internal Affairs (Stavropol, Russia).
In psychology, temperament refers to those aspects of an individual's personality, such as introversion or extroversion, which are often regarded as innate rather than learned. Historically, the concept of temperament was part of the theory of the four humours, with their corresponding four temperaments.
Four temperaments is a proto-psychological theory that suggests that there are four fundamental personality types, sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and literal), and phlegmatic (relaxed and thoughtful). Most formulations include the possibility of mixtures of the types.
The Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) incorporated the four temperaments into his medical theories as part of the ancient medical concept of humorism, that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviors. The four humors of Hippocratic medicine are black bile (Gk. melan chole), yellow bile (Gk. chole), phlegm (Gk. phlegma), and blood (Gk. haima), and each corresponds to one of the traditional four temperaments.
Sanguine people (blood humor) are impulsive and charismatic. They tend to enjoy social gatherings, making new friends and tend to be boisterous. They are usually quite creative and often have many ideas. Often, when they pursue a new hobby, they lose interest as soon as it ceases to be engaging or fun. They are very much people persons. They are talkative and not shy. Sanguine people are warm-hearted, lively and optimistic. They have been called "people-oriented extroverts.”
The phlegmatic temperament (phlegm humor) is fundamentally relaxed and quiet, ranging from warmly attentive to lazily sluggish. Phlegmatics tend to be content with themselves and are kind. Phlegmatics are consistent, they can be relied upon to be steady and faithful friends. They are accepting and affectionate, making friends easily. They tend to be good diplomats because their tendency not to judge and affable nature makes reconciling differing groups easy for them. Phlegmatics prefer to observe and to think on the world around them while not getting involved. They may be shy and often prefer stability to uncertainty and change. Their fear of change can make them susceptible to stagnation or stubbornness, or even illness. They are consistent, relaxed, calm, rational, curious, and observant, qualities that make them the most considerate and imaginative of all types. They can also be passive-aggressive if misunderstood. They have been called "people-oriented introverts."
The choleric temperament (yellow bile humor) is fundamentally ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggression, energy, and/or passion, and try to instill that in others. They are task oriented people and are focused on getting a job done efficiently; their motto is usually "do it now.” They can dominate people of other temperaments with their strong wills, especially phlegmatic types, and can become dictatorial or tyrannical. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. They like to be in charge of everything and are good at planning, as they can often immediately see a practical solution to a problem. However, they can quickly fall into deep depression or moodiness when failures or setbacks befall them. They have been called "task-oriented extroverts."
The melancholic temperament (black bile humor) is fundamentally introverted. Melancholic people are often perceived as very cautious. Often they are perfectionists. Their desire for perfection often results in a high degree of personal excellence but also causes them to be highly conscientious and difficult to relate to because others often cannot please them. Melancholics generally have an almost shameless nature, certain that what they are doing is right. They are self-reliant and independent, preferring to do things themselves to meet their standards. One negative part of being a melancholic is that they can get so involved in what they are doing they forget to think of other issues. Their caution enables them to prevent problems that the more impulsive sanguine runs into, but can also cause them to procrastinate and remain in the planning stage of a project for very long periods. Melancholics desire recognition for their work. They have been called "task-oriented introverts."
The concept played an important part in pre-modern psychology, and was explored by philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Hermann Lotze. David W. Keirsey also drew upon the early models of temperament when developing the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. More recently, scientists seeking evidence of a biological basis of personality have further examined the relationship between temperament and character (defined in this context as the learnt aspects of personality).
Ivan P. Pavlov extended the definitions of the four temperament types under study at the time: phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, and melancholic, updating the names to "the strong and impetuous type, the strong equilibrated and quiet type, the strong equilibrated and lively type, and the weak type." He determined 3 attributes of the central nervous system (CNS): power of the CNS – P, control of the CNS – C, and speed of the CNS – S. According this theory four temperaments can describe as:
* sanguine has great power of the CNS, high control and speed of the CNS (PCS),
* phlegmatic has great power of the CNS, high control and low speed of the CNS (PCs),
* choleric has great power of the CNS, low control and high speed of the CNS (PcS),
* melancholic has low power, control and speed of the CNS (pcs).
As usually, people with opposite characters are attracted to each other faster. So they compensate for poorly developed attributes of the CNS. In this case one person can use high speed or control of another person. The famous example is a mismatched pair of L.A.P.D. detectives from the movie "Lethal Weapon” (Martin Riggs) Mel Gibson and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover). Martin Riggs is a typically choleric with low control of his behavior, mood and addiction (PcS). Roger Murtaugh is typically phlegmatic with low speed of reaction (PCs). But together they make a perfect couple of policemen which complement each other and have successful final.