Dr. William Sheldon personality traits and temperament types


The topic: Concept of temperament

Fullfilled by: Zharmukhametova A. E.

MA-1 year student

Checked by: Duisenbekov D.D.

Almaty – 2016

Concept of temperament

The behaviour of the person depends not only on social conditions, but also on features of his natural organization. Among the specific features characterizing behaviour of the person, his activities and communication, the special place belongs to temperament.

The mankind long since tried to mark out typical features of a mental warehouse of various people, to reduce them to small number of the generalized portraits – temperament types as it would give the chance to predict behavior of people of different types in various life situations.

Mental activities of different people proceed differently: at one – regularly, smoothly, they are always quiet, sluggish, and avaricious in movements, are unsmiling, at others – is spasmodic, these people are mobile, recovered, noisy, they have a rich and various mimicry, movements are fussy, impatient. Natural (congenital) features which determine the dynamic party of mental activities of the person are properties of temperament.

The question of that why distinctions of people on temperament depend, occupied many scientists and antiquities (Hippocrates, Galen, etc.), and the near past (E. Krechmer, U. Sheldon, I. P. Pavlov), and the present (B. M. Teplov, V. D. Nebylitsyn, V. S. Merlin). There are three systems of an explanation of essence of temperament from which the first two have only historical interest.

1. Humoral theory (Hippocrates, Galen) linked the condition of the body with different ratios of juices in it (incidentally, the word "temperament" in translation from Latin means the proper ratio, the mixture, proportionality).

So, the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (460-877 BC) believed that human temperament is determined by which of the four liquids predominates in the body: if the blood ("sangvis"), the person active, energetic, cheerful, sociable; if the mucus ("phlegm"), then the person is calm, slow, balanced, poorly adapted to the new conditions; if bile (Hal), the person will be bilious, irritable, excitable, short-tempered, with a quick change of mood; if black bile – "Melina hole", the person is painfully shy, impressionable, prone to sadness, shyness, isolation.

Dr. William Sheldon personality traits and temperament types

It should be noted that this Constitutional psychology theory, largely attributable to Dr. William Sheldon, has somewhat fallen from acceptance and favor. Nevertheless it may be that some faint glimmers of truth are to be appreciated from a consideration of what Dr. Sheldon himself accepted about human personality traits and temperament types.

Dr. William Sheldon (1898-1977) was an American psychologist who during his career held teaching and research posts at a number of Universities in the United States.

Much of Dr. William Sheldon's professional life was devoted to investigating the range human personality traits or temperament types. Dr. Sheldon was particularly active in which field of study during the 1940s and eventually came to hold that there were three major human personality traits which he called Viscerotonia, Somatotonia, and Cerebrotonia. These personality traits, Sheldon came to believe, bore a direct relationship with each of three human body types ( or Somatypes ) which he called Endomorphy, Mesomorphy and Ectomorphy. Through a meticulous examination of the carefully posed (front view, side view, and back view) photographs of some four thousand, decently but scantily clothed, college-age, men Sheldon became persuaded that there were three fundamental elements that, in various proportions, contributed to each person's actual physique or somatype. He conjectured that there might well be some relationship between these elements and the three layers of the human embryo - the endoderm, the mesoderm and the ectoderm - and consequently gave the three elements that he held as contributing to ALL human physiques the names Endomorphy, Mesomorphy and Ectomorphy. He devised ways of standardising the measurement and numerical expression of the various degrees to which each of the three elements was present in any individual person's physique.
He came to see:

- Endomorphy- as being focussed on the digestive system, particularly the stomach.

- Mesomorphy-as being focussed on musculature and the circulatory system.

- Ectomorphy-as being focussed on the nervous system and the brain.

A graphical representation of such body-typism!

Dr. William Sheldon personality traits and temperament types - student2.ru

As his theorising continued Dr.Sheldon came to recognise that individual human beings would all possess stomachs, muscles, and nervous systems, but would also differ, more or less, in the inherent focus of their bodies towards their stomachs, their muscles, or their nervous systems. He accepted that, in any population, there would be a few extreme Endomorphs, a few extreme Mesomorphs, and a few extreme Ectomorphs. He saw extreme Endomorphic physiques as being rounded and tending towards fleshiness. He discovered that extreme Endomorphic body types are endowed with a far longer digestive tract than extreme Ectomorphic body types. He saw extreme Mesomorphic physiques as being large, bony, and tending towards a substantial and well-defined musculature. He saw extreme Ectomorphic body types as being light-boned and tending towards a slightness of musculature.

He also conducted a large number of surveys directed towards the investigation of whether there was any identifiable link between physique and temperament type. Sheldon's surveys led him consider that there were three basic temperament types or human personality traits that he labelled Viscerotonia, Somatotonia, and Cerebrotonia. He saw extreme Viscerotonia as being associated with a love of relaxation and of comfort. Extreme Viscerotonics tend to be sociable "food and people" persons. He saw extreme Somatonia as being associated with physical assertiveness. Extreme Somatotonics tend to be very keen on physical activity. Extreme Somatotonics also tend to be keen on physical competition in which they tend to expect to do well. He saw extreme Cerebrotonia as being associated with a pronounced need for privacy. Extreme Cerebrotonics tend to be highly self-aware and socially restrained. He considered that there was a strong correlation between body type and temperament type.

According to this view human personality traits are underwritten, as it were, by human physical types. Extreme Endomorphs tend towards Viscerotonia, extreme Mesomorphs towards Somatotonia, and extreme Ectomorphs towards Cerebrotonia. Whilst Sheldon wrote several books on the variety of human temperament types / human personality traits these seem to be out of print. Whilst it should be again noted that this Constitutional psychology theory, largely attributable to Dr. William Sheldon, has largely fallen from acceptance and favor, a case can nevertheless be hesitantly made that, in a search for faint glimmers of "psychological truth" an association can be made between Dr. William Sheldon's work and the work of other psychologists - not least the work of Stella Chess and Alexander Thomas.

3. I. P. Pavlov's theory connects types of temperament with the activity of the Central nervous system.

Under temperament it should be understood natural due to the individually unique properties of psyche, defining the dynamics of human mental activity.

Temperament characterizes a person mainly from the point of view of speed of flow and intensity of all mental processes – the cognitive, emotional, volitional. We emphasize again that the temperament it defines a dynamic, not a substantial behavior.

Temperament does not characterize the beliefs of the person, its views, interests, is not a measure of its greater or lesser social value. He does not predetermine character traits, although between them and the properties of temperament are closely linked, and determines the level of development of General and special abilities.

People of the same temperament can be both high-and maleodoranti. Conversely, people of different temperaments can successfully work in one area of knowledge (A. V. Suvorov and M. I. Kutuzov; A. S. Pushkin and M. Y. Lermontov, N.. Krylov and N. In. Gogol, Tchaikovsky and Chopin).

There is no temperament that is equally suitable for all activities, because each of them has its own requirements in the human psyche. These requirements can be very high, for example air traffic controllers or pilot-test pilot requires perseverance, self-control, reaction time, representatives of a number of occupations important alertness, ability to work in a forced rhythm (transcript of card, the reception of telegraphic code, Assembly-line work).

The most successful attempt to link temperament with the characteristics of the organism has taken the eminent Russian physiologist I. P. Pavlov in his theory of the type of higher nervous activity, under which he understood the combination of the most important features in the nervous system of humans and animals.

I. P. Pavlov considered that temperament is the most general characteristic of each certain person, the main characteristic of his nervous system, and this the last sets this or that seal to all activity of each individual.

In I. P. Pavlov's laboratories where formation of conditioned reflexes at dogs was studied, it was found out that at different animals conditioned reflexes are formed unequally: at one are quickly formed and longly remain, and at others are slowly formed and quickly die away. At strong and long stimuli animals also behave variously: one quietly transfer a load and an overload, others fall into a brake state; at one dynamic stereotype changes quickly, habits are quickly reconstructed, at others larger inactivity is shown.

In an experienced situation I. P. Pavlov marked out the following main properties of nervous processes: force, steadiness and mobility of exaltation and inhibition.

Force of nervous processes defines operability of a nervous cell and ability of a nervous system to maintain long and larger loads. In the conditions of laboratory force of a nervous system was determined by a superstrong stimulus: started intolerably loud graggers or a siren and observed whether the organism in these conditions to develop conditional communications is capable. At one animals conditioned reflexes were easily developed, for others it was impossible as they fell into a brake state. In long attempts to develop a conditioned reflex at these animals there was a disease of a nervous system.

Steadiness of processes of exaltation and inhibition expresses degree of compliance of force of exaltation to inhibition force, their balance or a ratio. They can be approximately identical (balanced, equally strong or weak, or unbalanced when one of them prevails, dominates).

Mobility is an ability of nervous processes to quickly replace each other, speed and ease of adaptation to new influences; rate of formation of conditioned reflexes depends on it. I. P. Pavlov wrote: "… Mobility – the basic: life disposes as it wants, changes all conditions, it is whimsical to the last degree, and only the one who can monitor these changes wins, i.e. has a mobile nervous system".

I. P. Pavlov established that temperament depends not on one of the listed properties, and on their combination. The combination of properties of a nervous system defining specific features of conditioned-reflex activity and temperament is called type of higher nervous activity of the person and animals which is congenital and in general can be hardly changed. However its separate lines during life can change (especially at children's age) in connection with living conditions and education.

Type of higher nervous activity (GNI) is the physiological basis of temperament. There are four main types of GNI, the weak, impetuous, lively, calm. These types of higher nervous activity correspond to the types of temperament. Weak type of GNI is the physiological basis of the melancholic temperament, unrestrained and choleric, live – sanguine, calm, phlegmatic.

It is incorrect to raise the question, which of the temperaments is "better". They are physiologically normal, and each of them has its positive and negative sides. Therefore, the main efforts should be directed not to change the temperament, and the proper use of its positive qualities and for smoothing, leveling of the negative properties.

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