Types Of Human Personalities Research Paper Examples
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“Personality” is a word which can be used both in everyday speech and in specialized psychological discourse. The word is so popular that we do not think twice what it really means. We use it to characterize people, their skills, and temper. We distinguish people according to personality types. Psychologists also pay great attention to characteristics of each personality type with a view of explaining either people’s behavior in different life situations or their reaction to certain events. Paying attention to different aspects of human personality study and, perhaps, pursuing different goals, researchers offer numerous and various classifications of personality types: one classification may include only 2 types (the Introvert and the Extrovert) while the other may account for up to 16 types (the Duty Fulfiller, the Thinker, the Idealist, the Protector, the Nurturer, the Scientist, etc.). However, since the days of Ancient Greece people have been divided into four basic personality types – sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic.
There were different grounds for distinguishing these four types of personalities. Thus, Greek physicians, Hippocrates (460-370 BC) and Galen (130-200 AD), grounded their conclusions on the medical basis according to the dominant bodily fluids: dominating yellow bile – for the choleric type, dominating black bile – for the melancholic type, dominating blood – for the sanguine type, and dominating phlegm – for the phlegmatic type (Vorkapić 69-70). Later on it was proved that people’s character has nothing to do with body fluids, but that concept was very influential for many years. These descriptions, i.e. sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic, are still in common linguistic use, though medically they have long since been superseded (Sharp 11).
In the XXth century W. Wundt (1903) and I. Kant (1912) expressed the idea that human personalities could be differentiated due to the strength of people’s emotions and the speed with which they change. Thus, choleric type is characterized by strong and fast-changing emotions, melancholic one – by strong but slowly-changing emotions; sanguine people have weak but fast-changing emotions while phlegmatic people experience weak and slowly-changing emotions (Vorkapić 70). However, their theories did not have very strong theoretical and empirical foundation, either, and therefore required further research.
At present there are several major theories of personality which emphasize “different independent and dependent variables as major determinants in the operation of personality” (Kasschau 436). They are biological, psychoanalytic, social, and humanistic theories. The first one focuses on people’s inherited capabilities and past experience. The psychoanalytic theory, developed by such prominent psychoanalysts as Sigmund Freud and Carl G. Jung, points out that people’s past (childhood) experience determines their perception of events and, consequently, further behavior. The social theory claims that people’s behavior results from both past and current experience as well as from thinking processes. And, finally, the humanistic theory supporters believe that human behavior is dependent solely on the person’s inner perception of self and others which leads to personal fulfillment. All these theories make efforts to specify types of human personality on the basis of which they can explain and predict people’s behavior and reaction to events and things that surround them.
In this paper we will focus on the basic four types outlined at the very beginning – sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic, because this classification of human personality types has traditionally been considered the most universal one.
Choleric-type personalities are the most energetic. As it was already mentioned above, their emotions are strong and fast-changing. Therefore, they are capable of becoming good leaders because they are active enough not to stop on the way and determined to get what they have in mind. Such quality of theirs as decisiveness is also very helpful in this case. Due to their excessive energy they tend to be dominant in the working or social environment. That is why cholerics are often said to be the "POWERFUL" type (“Personality Plus”). They are often very successful in business because they love money and know how to earn it. They like exact sciences and often look for similar “exact” solutions in personal matters. This fondness of exact sciences also predetermines cholerics’ career choices, for example, engineering or financing. The other peculiarity of this type is their ability to concentrate deeply on what they are doing. So, when they are busy with work, they do not like to be disturbed by anything and anybody.
On the other hand, cholerics can also be rather stubborn and arrogant which offend people around. They do not even try to be polite or friendly; they just do what they have to do. However, even these seemingly negative qualities add to their ability to achieve goals which they set for themselves. These people are pragmatic and do not yield to their own or other people’s emotions. They do not like to share their thoughts and feelings with anybody, either, and, therefore, they may seem cold-hearted and detached. But no matter what they like or plan, they cannot always control themselves and sometimes tend to lose temper exploding into rage.
Melancholics, in their turn, are the analytical type. They tend to think a lot before making a decision. They plan all their actions thoroughly: they assess the situation, differentiate pros and cons, draw charts and graphs, etc. They consider every detail in order not to make a mistake. Therefore, they are called the “PERFECT” type (“Personality Plus”). However, their aspiration to do everything right can paralyze them instead. They may turn to pessimism or even fatalism.
On the other hand, melancholics believe people should follow the rules – family traditions, office duties, civil obligations, and so on. They are very attentive to their dear people – parents, husbands and wives, children, friends, etc. At work they are not aggressive and can easily obey their superiors. Therefore, they are usually good at adapting in any working environment. Besides, they are very attentive to details: they remember important (and not very important) dates, things necessary to be done, telephone numbers, etc. They like order in everything. Therefore, they often do well as managers and administrators where the ability and willingness to follow the rules is a key to success.
Sanguine type is the most sociable one. They like communicating with people and often get on well with people. Sanguines are good companion in any place because you will never be bored when they are around. They are always the highlight of any company and are able to get people interested in the most trivial things. Therefore, they are named the "POPULAR" type (“Personality Plus”). They are enthusiastic (often about many things simultaneously) and optimistic. They are convinced life can be even better; therefore they always seek joy, excitement, and new experience. They tend to enjoy life to the fullest. If they can afford it, they like travelling a lot. They enjoy luxury and luxurious things. And they are ready to take risks to achieve these things. Sanguines are also very curious and creative. They are good learners because they are eager to know everything new in order to satisfy their insatiable curiosity. Therefore, many of them are very successful at study (at school and university) and even can have several degrees.
Unfortunately, sanguine types can promise too much but give too little. Their characteristics outlined above can lead them to less positive turns both in their private and professional lives. Their hunger for new and exciting along with hate for monotony makes many of them change jobs too often and it does not allow them to become really successful. Besides, their love for new experiences can lead them to smoking, alcohol addiction, drugs, gambling, and risky sex while their desire to avoid boredom at any cost prevents them from finishing projects they start.
In contrast, phlegmatics are the "PEACEFUL" type (“Personality Plus”). They usually have no enemies and can serve as mediators in problematic situations. They do not intend to upset people but they can frustrate them by indifference. However, in general they are easy-going, though quiet and unexcitable. They do not like changes; that is why they often prefer the status quo to new sensations and prospects in life. These people have good imagination and try to interpret things that they see. They pay great attention to feelings and emotions. And they like building friendly or even intimate relationships with other people. They value family and friends. They are sympathetic and considerate, trusting and cooperative.
On the other hand, it can be very difficult for phlegmatics to make a prompt decision. They often cannot concentrate their attention on the things that need to be done at the moment because they think too much about feelings, emotions, and other people. That quality can be an obstacle on the way to their successful career development. Moreover, they tend to be very touchy and susceptible to depression which is not the best things at work, either.
All in all, it is clear that all four types have both positive and negative characteristics. So, it is hard to say which one is preferable. Besides, it should be said that it is often impossible to find a pure type. Most people are blends of different personality types and have qualities typical of these types. Nevertheless the qualities of a certain type do prevail and then this type is considered to be their predominant one.
Kasschau, Richard A. Psychology: Exploring Behavior. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1980. Print.
“Personality Plus.” Wearegateway, 2010. Web. 12 Mar., 2015.
Sharp, Daryl. Personality Types: Jung’s Model of Typology. Toronto: Inner City Books, 1987. Print.
Vorkapić, Sanja Tatalović. “Electrophysiological Differences in Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic and Melancholic.” Romanian Journal of Psychology, Psychotherapy and Neuroscience 1(2) (2011): 67-96. Print.
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