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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

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