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Classic temperament and MBTI type correlation

September 27, 2012

Full article:

generic term Area code Keirsey Berens FIRO/APS
affective social E/I + S + T/F; E/I + N + J/P “roles of Interaction” Interaction Styles Inclusion; Affection
conative action S + J/P N + T/F “temperament” “temperament” Control
cognitive processing S,N,T,F + J/P N/A (rejected) Cognitive Processes (Jung/Beebe) omitted, but implied by possible correlation

The way the factors, styles and temperaments seem to line up:

code Keirsey Berens APS (approximate)
SJ Guardian Stabilizer Melancholy in Control
SP Artisan Improviser Sanguine in Control
NF Idealist Catalyst Phlegmatic or Supine in Control
NT Rational Theorist Choleric in Control
IST/INJ Contender Chart the Course Melancholy in Inclusion
ISF/INP Responder Behind the Scenes Phlegmatic or Supine in Inclusion
EST/ENJ Initiator In Charge Choleric in Inclusion
ESF/ENP Coworker Get Things Going Sanguine in Inclusion
E Expressive Initiating High Expressed Inclusion (eI)
I Reserved Responding Low Expressed Inclusion (eI)
[S]+F; [N]+P Role-Informative Informing High Wanted Inclusion (wI)
[S]+T; [N]+J Role-Directive Directing Low Wanted Inclusion (wI)
[N]+T; [S]+P Pragmatic, Utilitarian Pragmatic High Expressed Control (eC)
[N]+F; [S]+J Cooperative Affiliative Low Expressed Control (eC)
[N]+F; [S]+P [see comment below] Motive High Wanted Control (wC)
[N]+T; [S]+J [see comment below] Structure Low Wanted Control (wC)
N/A Intersecting Process (Movement) eI≈wI (Direct)
N/A Interlinking Outcome (Control) eI≠wI (Indirect)
S concrete concrete eC≈wC
N abstract, introspective abstract eC≠wC

Resultant blended temperaments of each type:




Melancholy or


Phlegmatic or






Sanguine or


Pure Phlegmatic
or Supine or blends


Choleric or
Supine Choleric






Phlegmatic or








Phlegmatic or


Pure Choleric

Matrices overlaid:

See also:

  1. In the vein of the “Eight Step Into To Type”, here is a few step correlation between temperament and type:

    1) Keirsey temperaments are Control:
    SJ Melancholy, SP Sanguine, NT Choleric, NF Supine or Phlegmatic
    a) This tells us where S/N fits in temperament: Opposite Controls.
    2) I/E is expressed Inclusion (I low; E high)
    3) Both T/F and J/P are connected with “wanted” scores
    a) We already see them in the Controls. For the S’s, it’s J (low) and P (high). For N’s, it’s T (low) F (high)
    b) so the poles not represented in the Keirsey code will be associated with Inclusion: for S’s: T (low) F (high) and for N’s: J (low) P (high)

  2. At one point, the temperament matrix was factored in terms of response time delay and sustain (Both “long” or “short”, corresponding respectively to low or high expressiveness or responsiveness).

    While I’ve pointed out how Supine is the true low E/high W, and Phlegmatic is actually moderate, I’ve never really addressed how exactly they fit delay/sustain.

    Phlegmatic and Supine are BOTH long delay, short sustain. Though for different reasons.
    Phlegmatic is so because it lacks the energy to express much (i.e. have a quick delay) or hold on to things (i.e. long sustain). Supine on the other hand is energized by fear to prolong a delay of expression, and by a need of acceptance to be more responsive and not hold onto negativity.

    However, this “indirect behavior” leads to an endless loop of not having the need met, and then being unhappy a lot of the time. (They’re not “holding on” to it; the cause of unhappiness is just repeated constantly).
    So they will nevertheless end up fitting the definition of “Neuroticism” just as much as the long sustain (and low responsiveness) temperaments (Choleric, Melancholy) who do hold onto things. (Where the Phlegmatic doesn’t have as much of that fear and need energizing the long delay and short sustain either. Hence, an appearance of “indifference”, and thus traditionally being “Stable”, or low in Neuroticism).

    This is where Neuroticism becomes differentiated from responsiveness (“Agreeableness”), and why Phlegmatic and Supine are represented by the same quadrant in the translation from five back to four temperament systems (including Keirsey and Interaction Styles).

  3. Someone recently points out, in Keirsey’s last book Personology, that he “inadvertently touched upon the structure-vs-motive dimension here”:

    Though a state of arousal like enthusiasm, excitement is fundamentally different from it. Excitement is different from enthusiasm for the reason that to be enthused is to be aroused from within–by an idea, an image, a desire, an emotion, while to be excited is to be aroused from without–by the stimulus of a game, a contest, a challenge. Thus the disposition of the Artisans is opposite that of the Idealists, with Artisans frequently and easily becoming excited, but only slowly and rarely becoming enthused; and with the Idealists frequently and easily becoming enthused, but only slowly and uneasily becoming excited. However, both excitement and enthusiasm are contagious, such that one’s companions are affected by one’s excitement as well as one’s enthusiasm. But does this mean that the tranquility of the Rationals or the seriousness of the Guardians are also contagious? Clearly not, for the latter two dispositions are not only not contagious, but a little annoying to companions, whatever their temperament. For example, the Rational who remains calm in a crisis, keeping his or her cool when Artisans are intemperate, is sometimes seen as a dud by Artisans. And the Guardian who evinces gloom in the midst of gaiety is sometimes seen by Artisans as a sad sack.
    (p.136-7, emphasis added)

    The “contagious” temperaments are SP and NF; the potentially “annoying” temperaments are NT and SJ.
    “Excited”, “Enthusiastic”, “Tranquil” and “serious” are alternate “temperament” descriptions
    and, note the distinction between “excited” and “enthusiastic”, with Idealists only slowly and uneasily becoming “excited”. This again is the “Expressive” difference of the temperaments, and “enthusiasm” has become confused with “excitement”, in justifying Keirsey making NF Choleric. (Even though NT seems “tranquil”, his “expressiveness” lies more in his pragmaticism, or being quick to take action, then it does in emotional response, which is a more affective than conative trait).

  4. Here’s a video on the infamous “INFJ door slam”:

    This is when the type reaches a point in a relationship where he gives up, and then cuts if off, often in a fiery display of anger (which I think is not mentioned in the video). He then cuts off contact; at least self-initiated contact. Yet, as the video does point out, the person is really “crushed” inside.

    While the more “aggressive” part of it might seem to go along with Keirsey’s view of the NF as “Choleric”, what we can hear described in this video is clearly compatible with a Supine; particularly (in the case of this type), a Melancholy in Inclusion [INJ], and Supine in Control [NF].
    It perfectly fits the APS descriptions of the Supine’s willingness to “serve” and keep trying to gain the acceptance or ackowledgment he needs, but eventually, if the person doesn’t give it to him, will react, possibly violently. (The Melancholy’s characteristic “directiveness” of the low responsiveness on the social level will aid in the coldness of the reaction, and the person will be kicked out of that temperament’s [low W] “exclusive club”. Affection temperament, which could be any of the five, will naturally be very involved as well, leading to different possible variations on how the door slam is carried out).

    INFJ’s in type discussions, who take a free “five temperaments test” someone put up online (and a few who even went and took the actual APS!) often score high on Melancholy and Supine! (Or at least Phlegmatic. Those who take four temperament tests also often get Melancholy and Phlegmatic).

  5. Mike permalink

    Assuming this is true, how would Supine fit into DISC, assuming they correlated as: Choleric-Sanguine-Phlegmatic-Melancholy ?

    • Supine would be “S” Steadfastness (“Passive” and “Open”), like Phlegmatic. Phlegmatic is really a moderate (inbetween) temperament, but it is what filled the fourth slot from ancient times, where Supine was mistaken for either it or Melancholy, because of its low expressiveness, and not making known his high need (i.e. what corresponds to “oppenness”).

      This is explained further in the second comment, above (discussing “delay/sustain”).

  6. It was somehow just recently that I realized another way to express the parallel of structure vs. motive to directing and informing [both as “wanted” behavior; D/Inf representing Inclusion and Str/M representing “Control”].

    In looking again at Keirsey’s definition of those terms in terms of “defining the relationship”. The person who is guided by “motives” is obviously allowing the other person to define the [“Control”] relationship. The person who is guided by a structure is technically allowing the structure to define the relationship, however, between him and another person whom he is relaying these “dictates” to, he is basically the one setting the definition of the relationship!
    (Added to

  7. Functions as “yes/no” processes, and the RESPONSIVE behaviors

    As I’ve been saying for awhile, the functions can all be seen as determining “yes” or “no” in their respective ways. Yes or no also basically correspond to being more or less “responsive” to someone.

    “Yes” = “responsive” (or “wanted”)
    “No” = “non-responsive” (low “wanted”; “reluctant”)

    Se: “yes” if an object is there; “no” only if nothing is there
    Ne: “yes” if the object can imply something, and “no” would only be if it couldn’t imply anything, which like Se, would also pretty much mean there was no object.

    Since this perception is much more malleable, going beyond the presence of a physical object itself, Ne doesn’t really say “no” on its own

    So extraverted Perception (Pe) is totally dependent on the environment, and “no” is simply lack of current data

    Si: yes if there was ONCE an object (connections made in brain), no if there wasn’t.
    Ni: yes if an implication comes from the unconscious (connections in brain not made from tangible input); no if it doesn’t

    (Just came to more of a realization that we should begin to focus on neurology in regard to functions. People think typology is like astrology; functions are “nonsense”, etc. but like everything else in our consciousness, it’s all about neurological connections which are of course more concrete where typology is abstract).

    So introverted Perception (Pi) is more likely to say “no” (and not for a readily obvious reason), because either the neurological connection is there or it’s not (where Pe is about the connections being made on the spot; hence more “open”). If not, then “that’s just the way it is” (or more accurately, “isn’t”) as they often say when people ask “why”, or keep trying to find alternatives to something.
    Pe will continue to look or wait for the “yes”, and if it (the data) ever shows up, then, the “yes” is automatic. So the “yes” will be more likely to be found.

    This is what leads in the type code, to “J” (Je/Pi) being less responsive, and “P” (Pe/Ji) being more responsive. This figures in both “temperament” (Keirsey) and the Interaction Styles; and parallels T/F.

    With T/F, “yes/no” is “rational”, or of the “will”, and thus figures even more for responsiveness, or “introvolition”/”extrovolition” as I call it. (Internally or externally WILLing, to match other classic temperament dimension “introversion”/”extroversion” or internal or external TURNing).

    The judgments’ responsiveness is for starters, built into the function, as “yes/no” (“rightness”) is determined by affect on people (responsive, whence “people”-focus), or objects (less responsive, or “task”-focus).

    The attitude also adds to this, with extraversion of the judgment increasing the task-focus.
    Yes or no is determined by “objects” (even if people), rather than a “subject”
    . Je works with Pi, whose “yes/no” is again fixed according to already “set” data.
    Ji is determined by a personal “subject” (even if that subject’s perspective is “impersonal”), and works with Pe (whose “yes/no” is again, more “open”), and so usually ends up more “flexible”, at least in giving other people’s perspectives a chance.

    So Fi (F+P) ends up as the “most responsive”, Te (T+J) as the least responsive, or most “directive”, and Ti (T+P) and Fe (F+J) are somewhere inbetween (“Achilles Tendencies” page), as you have a mix of more responsive and less responsive poles. TP’s and FJ’s (particularly the N variants of them) often struggle with T/F or J/P.

  8. Responding from here:


    Hi Eric B, a fan’s here! I’m interested with how 5 temperaments map onto Jungian types, and I’ve learn a lot from you. However, there are some points I’m disagree with: Keirsey temperaments and the choice of pure temperaments.
    As for the former, I find the grouping into SP, NT, NF, and SJ ‘asymmetrical’, because each SPs and SJs have one unifying functions (Se and Si respectively), while NTs and NFs don’t.
    As for the latter, the dominant functions of ESFP, ENTJ, ISTJ, and INFP are Se, Te, Si, and Fi respectively, which makes the group ‘asymmetrical’ too, because the dominant irrationals are all Sensing but the dominant rationals are Thinking and Feeling.
    So I made my own version of Keirsey and pure temperaments. As for the former, I group it into:
    — FP (always Feeling, analogous to SP, artistic but not always Sensing)
    — NJ (always Intuitive, analogous to NF, idealistic but generally lacks warmth)
    — TP (always Thinking, analogous to NT, rational thinkers but not always Intuitive)
    — SJ is the same as ever
    Meanwhile I take INTP and ISFJ as introverted pure temperaments, while the Sanguine and Choleric are still ESFP and ENTJ respectively. INTP fits Melancholic because they’re:
    — analytical, seeks wisdom, great at spotting flaws (dom-Ti)
    — noticing possibilities and details very well (aux-Ne and tert-Si), which is why some sources describe them as “artistic” and “deep”
    — afraid of criticism, being wrong, and rejection, which is why they come off as too quiet and expressionless (inf-Fe)
    Meanwhile ISFJ fits Phlegmatic because they’re:
    — receptive and finding that outside stimuli are more than enough for them, which is why they come off as slow and quiet (dom-Si)
    — welcoming, good at mediating, and disliking conflict (aux-Fe)
    — according to some sources, fearful and worrier (inf-Ne) (note that I’m still unsure about this part)
    As for Supine, I think they’re high-neuroticism Introverts-Perceivers: approval-seeking ITPs or recognition-seeking IFPs (I still have no idea how a healthy Supine would be like). Neuroticism belongs to OCEAN and HEXACO, so another frameworks…
    These pure temperaments are based on Florence Littauer’s personaly types, which is among what sparked my interest in typologies, and where most of my understanding of each temperaments came from.
    I’ve just recently gotten interested again in typologies after some years, so expect some mistakes that I’ve made. What do you think of my theory? Opinions and criticisms are welcome, as they’d satisfy my dom-Ti, he he…


    I believe some asymmetry is to be expected, because of the two different frameworks of classic temperament, and type. Temperament is “expressiveness and responsiveness” (whatever the two dimensions are called in different systems), and Jung’s type theory is about the functions, which did not figure in temperament.
    So there were some parallels, but not completely. It turns out that Introversion and extr[o/a]version are the same thing (expressiveness) in both systems, and Thinking and Feeling will touch upon responsiveness. Keirsey first mapped the temperaments to type, but these weren’t the social ones of Galen, but rather the “types of men” of Plato. This is what matched Sensing/iNtuition, and when converted to the corresponding Galen system, ended up tying together opposites, with Sanguine and Melancholic both being Sensors, and Choleric and Phlegmatic as the iNtuitives.

    Judging and perceiving, added by Myers, turned out to also fit responsiveness, and Keirsey’s cooperative/pragmatic was a second kind of expressiveness. So it ends up “twisted” and intertwined, with different letters indicating different e/r factors for S’s and N’s, but it does seem to make the best match to the Littauer-like systems.

    INTP looks like a Melancholic because of the I and T. On the S side, I+T is what makes the social Melancholic (“Inclusion” area) or “Chart the Course” Interaction Style, but on the N side, T is apart of the Keirsey group, and J/P is what determines the Interaction Style, so IJ is Melancholic, and IP is Phlegmatic (or Supine). I call the groups formed by I/E+T/F across the board the “social image temperament”, and the other three are Melancholic, but INTP is the exception. (For INTJ, they end up as Melancholic because of the J).

    In actual practice, INTP’s are not totally Melancholic in character, as they still have a “light and airiness” to them because of the Ne. Ne is what provides the “P” that makes the types more “responsive” to people. Their critical edge comes from the conative (Control or Keirseyan) temperament, the NT (which I believe is Choleric, though Keirsey had swapped this with the NF). So when you see the introversion with the criticalness of the iNtuitive Thinking, it will look like a Melancholic. But when sorted out, it’s really a Phlegmatic Choleric or Supine Choleric.
    ISFJ, being on the S side, is I+F, which then is the “Behind the Scenes” or Phlegmatic (or Supine) social temperament, so that’s why they would look like a Phlegmatic, on the surface. But SJ is clearly Melancholy in Control. That’s always been the strongest correlation.

    The thing is, to use the actual factors of expressiveness and responsiveness, and not general behaviors such as the ones you use (or Keirsey, when correlating the NT and NF with the classic temperaments), for different temperaments can engage in similar behaviors, and when you realize the whole type is a blend of different temperaments that modify each other, then you realize behaviors such as artisticness or calmness vs emotiveness aren’t what really define the temperament, they’re a product of the different factors.

    The “pure” temperament is formed by the Interaction Style and Keirsey temperament lining up as the same classic temperament. So SJ is Melancholic, and so now that we’ve established S, we can look for T/F (along with I/E) to determine the Interaction Style, so IT will also be Melancholic. That’s what makes ISTJ the pure Melancholic. It’s I + S + T/F, while you have it as the four introverted function attitudes; S/N/T/F + J/P. S/N + J/P will be the Keirsey temperament, and T/F + J/P, again, will be the responsiveness factor of Interaction Style, and will need I/E to tell you the whole Style.

    Neuroticism is something originally built into the temperaments, as for the original Eysenck matrix, it was what factored with I/E to form the temperaments, so it sort of replaced responsiveness. For the original four, it was like the inverse of responsiveness. What was high Neurotic was low responsive and vice versa. But five temperament theory determined Phlegmatic was really double-moderate, and not really low expressive and high responsive, so the new “fifth” temperament is what fit into that slot. It does turn out to be highly neurotic, even though it is also high responsive. So what I determined Neuroticism corresponded to was a “low” score in either dimension. Supine, along with Melancholy and Choleric are low in expressiveness and/or responsiveness. Phlegmatic is moderate in both, and Sanguine is high in both, and that is what’s low Neuroticism, or “Stable”. Low in either dimension represents a move or willing “away” from people, and it makes sense that would be connected to Neuroticism. So I don’t really see a need to have it as a separate factor, but the Five Factor Model (the most respected theory now) has made it popular.

    • Thanks for the reply, Erictb.
      Talking about Neuroticism, I wonder if you someday will consider mapping the 5 temperaments into the Big Five…
      Dichotomy-based MBTI traits have correlations with those of Big Fives — S/N corresponds to Openness, J/P to Conscientiousness, E/I to Extraversion, and T/F to Agreeableness — but several sources said the correlation was weak. So could an NT have high Agreeableness, or could an SJ have high Openness? And especially how the purest Melancholic will be in Big Fives — Do they have high/low Openness (some say they’re creative, some say they’re traditional/conventional)? — Do they have high/low Agreeableness (some say they’re compassionate, some say they’re unforgiving)?
      Once again thanks for the reply!

  9. I’ve done that, but hadn’t discussed it much, but I do have this image:

    I believe “agreeableness” is probably closer to “high responsive behavior”. As the high responsives in in the Interaction Styles are the SF and NP groups, then yes, NTP then would in theory be able to have high agreeableness. The “contagious” [Keirsey] temperaments, SP and NF would also be higher in agreeableness. Since this factor runs across both areas, then no, it won’t have an exact correlation, and other factors will determine whether a person gets high or low on that scale.

    I’ve always said, they needed to do a factor analysis with the Keirseyan an Interaction Styles factors, but those aren’t recognized enough in “orthodox” MBTI circles, let alone the larger field that respects the Big Five.
    Agreeableness will then match T/F, as it shapes responsiveness across the board, for the Interaction Styles for S’s, and the Keirsey temperament for N’s. But then J/P will fit it as well, in reverse (Interaction Styles for N’s and Keirsey temperament for S’s).

    Then, while the correlations may be close in some ways, they’re still not exact. The purest Melancholic, would be an ISTJ, and completely low in responsiveness as well as pretty “closed” (demanding familiarity), but stuff like “compassion” and “creativity” are themselves, not specific type traits; they are good characters for humanity in general. Each type will have its own way of manifesting this, and personal experience and maturity level will determine how much of it is seen.

    So any correlation between the two systems will be loose. Is FFM supposed to even be an “inborn” set of traits? If not, then it’s really not the same as type at all, and that’s probably one reason it is being more respected now. (People, including science, avoids” boxes” to squeeze people into).

    (Should also point out, Neuroticism also would be built into the temperaments, since it was first used by Eysenck in place of responsiveness, with the Melancholic and Choleric being high N, and Sanguine and Phlegmatic being Stable. When you add the fifth temperament, Supine, it breaks the inverse symmetry, being both high responsive, and high Neurotic. So looking at which type groups corresponds to which temperament would point to how Neurotic they should be by nature, but again, it won’t match the types consistently).

  10. papillon permalink

    Why are only INFPs pure Supine, and not ISFP too?

    • Because SP’s are Sanguine (though in the area of “Control”). On the surface, since Supine is the social temperament, they will look like pure Supines, especially since they share in common with the INFPs the dominant introverted Feeling. But ISFP is often said to be “the most extraverted introvert”, because SP (defined by the extraverted Sensing function) will be quicker to action, as is natural for Se’s immedate tangible focus. So while initially reserved, fitting Supine, they will have a more active streak. (Sanguine in Control also “swings” to a state of “dependency”, which when translated to the functions, would be from when the Se data indicates no action is possible, so they would for all purposes be like a pure Supine in those moments).

      • papillon permalink

        Supine looks like a mixture of enneagram 4 and 2

      • When I first saw Enneagram, I recognized Supine in the 6, 4 and 2, with 6 being like the base temperament, 4 as the “Supine Phlegmatic” (or Melancholy Phlegmatic; basically between Supine and Melancholy as moderately responsive), and 2 as “Phlegmatic Supine” (or Phlegmatic Sanguine; between Supine and Sanguine; moderate in expressiveness).

        But I’ve since given up on making that a hard correlation, and now am going with the common belief that Enneagram is “nurture”, while temperament is “nature” (inborn). So this creates variations of the types (I had wondered if Enneagram might tie into the third area of Affection, but have no evidence). I believe the connection is that these are what the temperaments might default to (so Supines might gravitate toward 6, 4 and 2), but experiences in life can redirect them. Personality Hacker and others have done profiles of every MBTI type as every Enneagram type. In APS theory, it’s taught we cannot look at surface behavior to determine temperament, as people wear masks and have learned behavior. So apparently, Enneagram represents the “learned behavior”! So if a Supine learns how to be more assertive, then he can be an INFP-8! (Even though that might be rare).

  11. papillon permalink

    I don’t know if my enneagram is 4 or 2. I have the basic fear of 2, but I am introspective and prone to melancholy like 4, although I don’t consider myself “individualistic”.
    I’ve been like this since I was a child, I don’t believe it’s creation.

    • “Introspective” could be any introverted type, or even iNtuitive. “melancholy” can be generic (not necessarily the temperament named after the mood).

      So do you know your [MBTI] type? That would likely explain your inborn tendencies. Then, whatever that is, you can still be 2 on top of it. So that might make you seem like both 2 and 4. (I would also suggest trifixes, but 2 and 4 are both in the same triad, so you coudn’t be both that way).

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