THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS
The Two-Factor Model of Personality is a widely used psychological factor analysis measurement of personality, behavior and temperament. It most often consists of a matrix measuring the factor of introversion and extroversion with some form of people versus task orientation.
Anciently, Galen mapped the Four Temperaments to a matrix of hot/cold and dry/wet taken from the Four Elements. Eventually, it was observed:
• The sanguine temperament showed quick, impulsive and relatively brief reactions. (hot/wet; air)
• The phlegmatic temperament was characterized by a longer response-delay, but the response was also short-lived. (cold/wet; water)
• The choleric temperament manifested a short response time-delay, but the response was sustained for a relatively long time. (hot/dry; fire)
• The melancholic temperament (Also called “Melancholy”) exhibited a long response time-delay, and the response was sustained at length, if not, seemingly, permanently. (cold/dry; earth).
Therefore, it was evident that the sanguine and choleric shared a common trait: quickness of response (corresponding to “heat”), while the melancholic and phlegmatic shared the opposite, a longer response (coldness). The melancholic and choleric, however, shared a sustained response (dryness), and the sanguine and phlegmatic shared a short-lived response (wetness). That meant, that the choleric and melancholic both would tend to hang on to emotions like anger, and thus appear more serious and critical than the fun-loving sanguine, and the peaceful phlegmatic. However, the choleric would be characterized by quick expressions of anger (like the sanguine, with the difference being that the sanguine cools off); while the melancholic would build up anger slowly, silently, before exploding. Also, the melancholic and sanguine would be sort of “opposites”, as the choleric and phlegmatic, since they have opposite traits.
These are the basis of the two factors that would define temperament in the modern theory.
According to Kagan, (conventionally):
temperament refers to stable behavioral and emotional reactions that appear early and are influenced in part by genetic constitution.
Temperament is perhaps what Kagan is best known for. He began his work on temperament after his research in Guatemala. Kagan primarily focused on children’s fear and apprehension. He created two types of temperament; inhibited and uninhibited. Inhibited refers to a shy, timid, and fearful profile of a child, whereas uninhibited refers to the appearance of bold, sociable and outgoing behaviours. In 2008, Kagan and several other researchers conducted a study to examine if behavioral inhibition in adulthood can be predicted by certain behavioral characteristics in infants. The research hypothesized that the frequency of infant reactivity based on motor and crying dimensions is predictive of behavioral inhibition. As a result of his ground breaking work on temperament, we know that these characteristics have the ability to influence later behavior depending on how they interact with the environment. Kagan also believed that there is no guarantee of an indefinitely stable profile considering environmental factors are always changing and that both genes and environmental factors influence a child’s temperament
Although emotion is not what Kagan is known for, he did bring some work into this field. Kagan proposed that emotion is a psychological phenomenon controlled by brain states and that specific emotions are products of context, the person’s history and biological make-up. Kagan also explained emotion as occurring in four dinstinct phases. The first phase is the brain state, which is created by an incentive, the second stage is the detection of changes in bodily movement.The third stage is the appraisal of a change in bodily feeling, and the last stage is where there are observable changes in facial expression and muscle tension. These emotions vary in magnitude and usually differ across ages and when expressed in different contexts. Kagan questioned relying on individual’s verbal statements of their feelings. He provided several reasons for this. Firstly, he argued that the English language does not have enough words to describe all emotional states. Secondly, the words to explain emotional states do not convey the differences in the quality or the severity of it. Lastly, you cannot translate emotional words from one language to another accurately. In addition, Kagan argued that research in emotion studies should be free of ambiguous and coded terms, and this emphasis on specificity remains a recurring theme in his current research on emotion.