Temperaments and Personalities

Jun 10, 2023

Temperaments and personalities are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different aspects of an individual's character. Understanding the differences between the two can help you gain a better understanding of yourself and others.


Temperament refers to the innate, biological aspects of an individual's personality that are present from birth. It is often described as the "how" of behavior, as it relates to how an individual responds to external stimuli.

The Four Temperaments

The ancient Greeks believed that there were four basic temperaments: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic. Each temperament was associated with different personality traits and behaviors.

  • The sanguine temperament was associated with optimism, enthusiasm, and sociability.
  • The choleric temperament was associated with ambition, assertiveness, and competitiveness.
  • The melancholic temperament was associated with introspection, sensitivity, and perfectionism.
  • The phlegmatic temperament was associated with calmness, patience, and stability.

While these four temperaments are no longer widely used, modern psychology still recognizes the importance of temperament in shaping an individual's personality.

temperament personality


Personality refers to the unique combination of characteristics that make up an individual's character. It is often described as the "what" of behavior, as it relates to what an individual does and how they interact with the world around them.

The Five Factor Model

The Five Factor Model is a widely accepted theory of personality that identifies five broad dimensions of personality:

  1. Openness: characterized by imagination, creativity, and a willingness to try new things.
  2. Conscientiousness: characterized by organization, responsibility, and a strong work ethic.
  3. Extraversion: characterized by sociability, assertiveness, and a need for stimulation.
  4. Agreeableness: characterized by compassion, cooperation, and a desire for harmony.
  5. Neuroticism: characterized by emotional instability, anxiety, and moodiness.

While everyone possesses some degree of each of these traits, individuals tend to have a dominant trait that shapes their behavior and interactions with others.

personality traits


While temperament and personality are different concepts, they are both important in shaping an individual's behavior and interactions with others. Understanding your own temperament and personality can help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses, and improve your relationships with others.