Temperament and Character Inventory

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The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) is an inventory for personality traits devised by Cloninger et al.[1] It is closely related to and an outgrowth of the Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ), and it has also been related to the dimensions of personality in Zuckerman's alternative five and Eysenck's models[2] and those of the five factor model.[3]

TCI operates with seven dimensions of personality traits: four so-called temperaments[4]

and three so-called characters

Each of these traits has a varying number of subscales. The dimensions are determined from a 240-item questionnaire.

The TCI is based on a psychobiological model that attempts to explain the underlying causes of individual differences in personality traits.[5]


Originally developed in English, TCI has been translated to other languages, e.g., Swedish,[6] Japanese, Dutch, German, Polish, Korean,[7] Finnish, Chinese and French. There is also a revised version TCI-R. Whereas the original TCI had statements for which the subject should indicate true or false, the TCI-R has a five-point rating for each statement. The two versions hold 189 of the 240 statements in common. The revised version has been translated into Spanish,[8] French,[9] Czech,[10] and Italian.[11]

The number of subscales on the different top level traits differ between TCI and TCI-R. The subscales of the TCI-R are:

  • Novelty seeking (NS)
    1. Exploratory excitability (NS1)
    2. Impulsiveness (NS2)
    3. Extravagance (NS3)
    4. Disorderliness (NS4)
  • Harm avoidance (HA)
    1. Anticipatory worry (HA1)
    2. Fear of uncertainty (HA2)
    3. Shyness (HA3)
    4. Fatigability (HA4)
  • Reward dependence (RD)
    1. Sentimentality (RD1)
    2. Openness to warm communication (RD2)
    3. Attachment (RD3)
    4. Dependence (RD4)
  • Persistence (PS)
    1. Eagerness of effort (PS1)
    2. Work hardened (PS2)
    3. Ambitious (PS3)
    4. Perfectionist (PS4)
  • Self-directedness (SD)
    1. Responsibility (SD1)
    2. Purposeful (SD2)
    3. Resourcefulness (SD3)
    4. Self-acceptance (SD4)
    5. Enlightened second nature (SD5)
  • Cooperativeness (C)
    1. Social acceptance (C1)
    2. Empathy (C2)
    3. Helpfulness (C3)
    4. Compassion (C4)
    5. Pure-hearted conscience (C5)
  • Self-transcendence (ST)
    1. Self-forgetful (ST1)
    2. Transpersonal identification (ST2)
    3. Spiritual acceptance (ST3)

Neurobiological foundation[edit]

TCI has been used for investigating the neurobiological foundation for personality, together with other research modalities, e.g., with molecular neuroimaging,[12] structural neuroimaging[13] and genetics.

Temperament Neurotransmitter system
Novelty seeking Low dopaminergic activity
Harm avoidance High serotonergic activity
Reward dependence Low noradrenergic activity

Cloninger suggested that the three original temperaments from TPQ, novelty seeking, harm avoidance, and reward dependence, was correlated with low basal dopaminergic activity, high serotonergic activity, and low basal noradrenergic activity, respectively.[14]

Many studies have used TCI for examining whether genetic variants in individual genes have an association with personality traits. Studies suggest that novelty seeking is associated with dopaminergic pathways.[15] Dopamine transporter DAT1 and dopamine receptor DRD4 are associated with novelty seeking.[citation needed] Parkinson's patients, who are intrinsically low in dopamine, are found to have low novelty seeking scores.[citation needed] Gene variants that have been investigated are, e.g., 5-HTTLPR in the serotonin transporter gene and gene variants in XBP1.[16]

Relationship to other personality models[edit]

Cloninger argued that the Five Factor model does not assess domains of personality relevant to personality disorders such as autonomy, moral values, and aspects of maturity and self-actualization considered in humanistic and transpersonal psychology. Cloninger argued that these domains are captured by self-directedness, cooperativeness, and self-transcendence respectively.[5] He also argued that personality factors defined as independent by factor analysis, such as neuroticism and introversion, may actually share underlying etiological factors.

Research has found that all of the TCI dimensions are each related substantially to at least one of the dimensions in the Five Factor Model,[3] Eysenck's model, Zuckerman's alternative five:

  • Harm avoidance is strongly positively associated with neuroticism and inversely associated with extraversion.
  • Novelty seeking is most strongly associated with extraversion, although it also has a moderate positive association with openness to experience and a moderate negative association with conscientiousness.
  • Persistence has a positive association with conscientiousness.
  • Reward dependence is most strongly associated with extraversion, although it also has a moderate positive association with openness to experience.
  • Cooperativeness is most strongly associated with agreeableness.
  • Self-directedness has a strong negative association with neuroticism and a positive association with conscientiousness.
  • Self-transcendence had a positive association with openness to experience and to a lesser extent extraversion.
  • Relationships have also been found between the TCI dimensions and traits specific to the models of Zuckerman and Eysenck respectively.[3]
  • Novelty seeking is related to Impulsive sensation seeking in Zuckerman's alternative five model and to psychoticism in Eysenck's model.
  • Zuckerman and Cloninger have contended that Harm Avoidance is a composite dimension comprising neurotic introversion at one end and stable extraversion at the other end.
  • Persistence is related to Zuckerman's Activity scale and inversely to psychoticism.
  • Cooperativeness is inversely related to Zuckerman's Aggression-hostility scale and to psychoticism.
  • Self-transcendence has no equivalent in either Zuckerman or Eysenck's model as neither model recognises openness to experience.[3]

Health and well-being[edit]

Cloninger has argued that "psychological well-being" depends on the development of facets of the three character dimensions, such as autonomy and life purpose from self-directedness, positive relations with others from cooperativeness, and personal growth and self-actualization from self-transcendence. He has also argued that the temperament dimensions are associated with subjective well-being and to some extent with physical health.[17] A study examining relationships between character dimensions and aspects of health and happiness found that self-directedness was strongly associated with happiness, satisfaction with life, general health, and perceived social support. Cooperativeness was associated most strongly with perceived social support and only weakly with the other well-being measures. Self-transcendence was associated with positive emotions when taking the other character traits into account, but was largely unrelated to negative emotions or the other well-being measures.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ C. Robert Cloninger (1994). The temperament and character inventory (TCI): A guide to its development and use. St. Louis, MO: Center for Psychobiology of Personality, Washington University. ISBN 978-0-9642917-1-3.
  2. ^ Marvin Zuckerman and C. Robert Cloninger (August 1996). "Relationships between Cloninger's, Zuckerman's, and Eysenck's dimensions of personality". Personality and Individual Differences. 21 (2): 283–285. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(96)00042-6. PMC 4486314. PMID 26146428.
  3. ^ a b c d De Fruyt, F.; Van De Wiele, L.; Van Heeringen, C. (2000). "Cloninger's Psychobiological Model of Temperament and Character and the Five-Factor Model of Personality". Personality and Individual Differences. 29 (3): 441–452. doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00204-4.
  4. ^ "Temperament & Character Inventory". Center for Well-being, Washington University in St. Louis.
  5. ^ a b Cloninger, C.R.; Svrakic, DM; Przybeck, TR (December 1993). "A psychobiological model of temperament and character". Archives of General Psychiatry. 50 (12): 975–90. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1993.01820240059008. PMID 8250684.
  6. ^ Brändström, Sven; Schlette, Paul; Przybeck, Thomas R; Lundberg, Mattias; Forsgren, Thomas; Sigvardsson, Sören; Nylander, Per-Olof; Nilsson, Lars-Göran; Cloninger, Robert C (May–June 1998). "Swedish normative data on personality using the Temperament and Character Inventory". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 39 (3): 122–128. doi:10.1016/S0010-440X(98)90070-0. PMID 9606577.
  7. ^ Lyoo, In Kyoon; Han, Chang Hwan; Lee, Soo Jin; Yune, Sook Kyeong; Ha, Ji Hyun; Chung, Sun Joo; Choi, Hyunsoo; Seo, Cheon Seok; Hong, Kang-E.M (March–April 2004). "The reliability and validity of the junior temperament and character inventory". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 45 (2): 121–128. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2003.12.002. PMID 14999663.
  8. ^ Gutiérrez-Zotes, JA; Bayón, C; Montserrat, C; Valero, J; Labad, A; Cloninger, CR; Fernández-Aranda, F (January–February 2004). "[Temperament and Character Inventory Revised (TCI-R). Standardization and normative data in a general population sample]". Actas Españolas de Psiquiatría. 32 (1): 8–15. PMID 14963776.
  9. ^ A. Pelissolo; L. Mallet; J.-M. Baleyte; G. Michel; C. R. Cloninger; J.-F. Allilaire; R. Jouvent (2005). "The Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised (TCI-R): psychometric characteristics of the French version". Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 112 (2): 126–133. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.2005.00551.x. PMID 15992394. S2CID 25445104.
  10. ^ Preiss, M; Kucharová, J; Novák, T; Stepánková, H (June 2007). "The temperament and character inventory-revised (TCI-R): a psychometric characteristics of the Czech version". Psychiatria Danubina. 19 (1–2): 27–34. PMID 17603413.
  11. ^ Fossati, Andrea; Cloninger, C. Robert; Villa, Daniele; Borroni, Serena; Grazioli, Federica; Giarolli, Laura; Battaglia, Marco; Maffei, Cesare (July–August 2007). "Reliability and validity of the Italian version of the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised in an outpatient sample". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 48 (4): 380–387. doi:10.1016/j.comppsych.2007.02.003. PMID 17560961.
  12. ^ Borg, J.; Andrée, B; Soderstrom, H; Farde, L (November 2003). "The Serotonin System and Spiritual Experiences". American Journal of Psychiatry. 160 (11): 1965–1969. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.11.1965. PMID 14594742. S2CID 5911066.
  13. ^ Yamasue, H.; Abe, O.; Suga, M.; Yamada, H.; Inoue, H.; Tochigi, M.; Rogers, M.; Aoki, S.; Kato, N. (January 2008). "Gender-common and -specific neuroanatomical basis of human anxiety-related personality traits". Cerebral Cortex. 18 (1): 46–52. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhm030. PMID 17412719.
  14. ^ C. R. Cloninger (Autumn 1986). "A unified biosocial theory of personality and its role in the development of anxiety states". Psychiatric Developments. 4 (3): 167–226. PMID 3809156.
  15. ^ Bódi, Nikoletta; Kéri, Szabolcs; Nagy, Helga; Moustafa, Ahmed; Myers, Catherine E (September 2009). "Reward-learning and the novelty-seeking personality: a between- and within-subjects study of the effects of dopamine agonists on young Parkinson's patients". Brain. 132 (9): 2385–2395. doi:10.1093/brain/awp094. PMC 2766178. PMID 19416950.
  16. ^ Kusumi, Ichiro; Masui, Takuya; Kakiuchi, Chihiro; Suzuki, Katsuji; Akimoto, Tatsuyuki; Hashimoto, Ryota; Kunugi, Hiroshi; Kato, Tadafumi; Koyama, Tsukasa (December 2005). "Relationship between XBP1 genotype and personality traits assessed by TCI and NEO-FFI". Neuroscience Letters. 391 (1–2): 7–10. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2005.08.023. hdl:2115/8420. PMID 16154272. S2CID 505223.
  17. ^ a b Cloninger, CR; Zohar, AH (2011). "Personality and the perception of health and happiness". Journal of Affective Disorders. 128 (1–2): 24–32. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2010.06.012. PMID 20580435.

External links[edit]