You may have pondered why some people tend to lose their temper easily while others are as cool as cucumber even in very tense situations, why some people need constant attention and others are better off in the privacy of their home without other people around. There are many similar questions. Personality typology may bring some answers to them.
Each of Us is an Original
The way we behave and live makes each of us unique. That is why we can never meet two identical people. There will always be bigger or smaller amount of differences that make each of us the way we are. However, the truth is that although we experience certain situations differently, we observe that certain people share certain features of behaviour. These features are reflected in the personality typology.
What is a Human Personality?
The possible interpretation of the term human personality has been stated above. It is a set of all features of behaviour, experience or perception that is typical for a particular person. Human personality is forming and changing throughout life, it is influenced by experiences, social encounters, mental development and by the approach the individual takes to himself/herself. Try to think about yourself - are you still the same person you were a few years, months, weeks ago? Or even days or hours ago? Even an event seeming insignificant at the first sight may trigger big changes in our psyche, therefore also in our personality. Human personality is developing continuously.
Did you see a little kid fall off his bike and cry during the weekend? You will definitely worry a little more when your own child will go wild on two wheels. Were you catching your bus to work at the last second? Then you will always remind yourself it's good to have some time reserve. Were you robbed in the street and needed help of some passers-by? Then your attitude towards helping other definitely changed whether you realise it or not. All these situations cause changes within us.
It is therefore clear that examining human personality is not an easy task to do. Even so, since the time of Hippocrates - father of medicine - who was interested in this matter already in the 4th century B.C. , efforts have been appearing to understand human personality and describe it adequately. Let's have a look at two major personality typologies that shook the world of psychology and became widely acknowledged and followed.
Hippocrates and His Temperament-Based Personality Typology
Almost everyone has heard the terms sanguine, choleric or melancholic. It is thanks to the work of a Greek physician called Hippocrates whose theory has stood the test of time and it is one of the most recognized and cited theories on the subject. If we wish to get to the bottom of his opinions, we need to clarify the meaning of the key word - temperament. In common conversation, it describes how much a person is active or assertive. In psychology, however, temperament represents a set of qualities that manifest in behaviour, experiencing and conduct. Hippocrates classifies four temperament types on the basis of prevailing bodily fluids. (At that time, medicine was based on the idea of existence of fluids maintaining various functions in the body and taking part in various activities).
What Temperament Type Are You?
Are you a very friendly, sociable and optimistic person who enjoys life? Then Hippocrates would call you a sanguine, a person with blood prevailing in their body. On the contrary, if you are reserved, pessimistic and prefer solitude, you'd be classified a melancholic with mainly black bile circulating in their body. Do you lose your temper over the littlest things? Do you set off easily, are you often angry and manifesting it easily in public? Are you a person of firm principles and unshakeable decisions? Then you are an exemplary choleric, controlled by yellow bile. The last type - phlegmatic - would not even care to read this article. Phlegmatics get seldom interested or enthusiastic about anything - and when they do, they get fanatic about it. A phlegmatic has his/her own world where nothing is hurried, everything is dealt with in extreme calmness that many others may envy.
Introvert or extrovert?
Another theory we consider mentioning comes from one of the most significant psychologists dealing with human personality - Hans Eysenck. On the basis of many researches, Eysenck has come to the conclusion that personalities may be categorized also according to how an individual approaches other people or whether he/she has propensities to personality disorders, and therefore should spend time to themselves and their needs.
Do you like having fun and you can't imagine spending more than a day alone? Then you are an unambiguous extrovert full of life, optimism and mood bordering on euphoria. Do you see yourself in this description? The other side has introverts who always prefer alone-time to a wild party. Many people envy them their ability to plan and think ahead. They let only a few people into their world, they only open up to the closest of their friends who they feel won't disappoint them and crush their fragile inner world.
Eysenck's Typology Is Based on Stability and Lability
Eysenck focused on the aforementioned personality disorders that do not necessarily mean distorted quality of experience. His personality typology stems from the terms neurotic disorder or lability - propensity to neuroses. The counterpart is stability. Both terms tell us a lot. Frequent mood swings, irritability and inappropriate reactions are manifestations of a certain personality lability that may lead to neurosis and other accompanying disorders. On the other hand a person who is not shaken easily and deals with situations with a cool head operates within the borders of stability. Have a look at the following picture (which shows Eysenck's personality dimensions diagram) and try to find yourself in it; you may be able to put names to your character qualities.
A Personality Test Will Tell You More
Personality influences your life and life influences the personality development. Personality typology may give us a possibility to understand why we respond the way we do in certain situations and give us answers to many questions we ask ourselves. If you want to learn more about yourself, there are personality tests to be taken at the psychologist's office. Results of these tests may give you a hint on what path - e.g. within employment - you should take or avoid. In conclusion, have a look at the overview of strengths and weaknesses of the individual personality types:
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