Two-factor models of personality

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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.


The Roman physician Galen mapped the four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic) to a matrix of hot/cold and dry/wet, taken from the four classical elements.[1] Two of these temperaments, 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). This 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.[2]

These are the basis of the two factors that would define temperament in the modern theory.


In the last few centuries, various psychologists would begin expressing the four temperaments in terms of pairs of behaviors that were held in common by two temperaments each.

Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), from his work with dogs, came up with the factors of "passivity" (active or passive) and "extremeness" (extreme response or moderate response). His view of the temperaments in dogs was:

  • The Melancholic type (Weak inhibitory): categorized as "weak" dogs;
  • Choleric type (Strong excitatory): strong, unbalanced, easily aroused (excitable);
  • Sanguine type (Lively): strong, balanced, mobile;
  • Phlegmatic type (Calm imperturbable): strong, balanced, sluggish.

This theory would also be extended to humans.

Alfred Adler (1879–1937) measured "activity" (connected with "energy") against "social interest", yielding the four "styles of life":[3]

  • Ruling or Dominant type: high activity, low social interest
  • Getting or Leaning type: low activity, high social interest
  • Avoiding type: low activity, low social interest
  • Socially Useful type: high activity, high social interest

These he compared to the choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine respectively.[4]

Erich Fromm's (1900–1980) factors were acquiring and assimilating things ("assimilation"), and reacting to people ("socialization"). These two factors form four types of character, which he calls Receptive, Exploitative, Hoarding and Marketing.

Also deserving mention is a single scale invented in the 1940s by Karen Horney (1885–1952). This one dimension measured "movement" towards, against and away from people. This would result in the coping strategies, in which these three "neurotic" patterns would be paired with a fourth, "healthy" one called "movement with people". These would describe behaviors associated with both extroversion and reacting to people, in which people attempt to avoid getting hurt, by either distancing themselves from others or maintaining self-sufficiency and independence on one hand; or approaching others, attempting to control or exploit them, and otherwise gain power and recognition; or "give in" to them to gain acceptance and approval, on the other.

Factors integrated into modern instruments[edit]

As the twentieth century progressed, numerous other instruments were devised measuring not only temperament, but also various individual aspects of personality and behavior, and several began using forms of extroversion and the developing category of people versus task focus as the factors.

In 1928, William Moulton Marston identified four primary emotions, each with an initial feeling tone of either pleasantness or unpleasantness. This led to his viewing people's behavior along two axes, with their attention being either "passive" or "active", depending on the individual's perception of his or her environment as either "favorable" or "antagonistic". By placing the axes at right angles, four quadrants form with each describing a behavioral pattern:

  • Dominance, which produces activity in an antagonistic environment; with a feeling of unpleasantness until stimulus is acted upon
  • Compliance, which produces passivity in an antagonistic environment; with a feeling of unpleasantness until stimulus is reconciled
  • Inducement, which produces activity in a favorable environment; with a feeling of pleasantness increasing as interaction increases
  • Submission, which produces passivity in a favorable environment; with a feeling of pleasantness increasing as yielding increases

This would be further developed in the 1970s by John G. Geier[5] into the DiSC assessment System, which grades individual scales of "Dominance", "Influence", "Steadiness", and "Conscientiousness". By now, it would be classified in terms of the two factors; consisting of pairs of Extroverted or "Assertive" aspects (D, I), Introverted or "Passive" aspects (S, C), Task-oriented or "Controlled" aspects (D, C) and social or "Open" aspects (I, S).

The California Psychological Inventory's CPI 260 Instrument also has similar scales, of "Initiates action, Confident in social situations" versus "Focuses on inner life, Values own privacy"; and "Rule-favoring, Likes stability, Agrees with others" versus "Rule-questioning, Has personal value system, Often disagrees with others" and the four "lifestyles": Leader, Supporter, Innovator, and Visualizer.

Two-Factors expanded to measure more than four types[edit]

Galen also had intermediate scales for "balance" between the hot/cold and wet/dry poles, yielding a total of nine temperaments. Four were the original humors, and five were balanced in one or both scales.[6][7][8]

Another addition to the two factor models was the creation of a 10 by 10 square grid developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton in their Managerial Grid Model introduced in 1964. This matrix graded, from 0–9, the factors of "Concern for Production" (X-axis) and "Concern for People" (Y-axis), allowing a moderate range of scores, which yielded five "leadership styles":

  • Impoverished (low X, Y)
  • Produce or Perish (high X low Y)
  • Country Club (low X high Y)
  • Team (high X and Y)
  • Middle of the Road (moderate X, Y)

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) used a version of this with "Assertiveness" and "Cooperativeness" as the two factors, also leading to a fifth mode:

  • Competing, (assertive, uncooperative)
  • Avoiding (unassertive, uncooperative)
  • Accommodating (unassertive, cooperative)
  • Collaborating (assertive, cooperative)
  • Compromising (intermediate assertiveness and cooperativeness).

FIRO-B would call the two dimensions Expressed Behavior and Wanted Behavior, and use three separate matrices for the respective areas of Inclusion (social skills) Control (leadership and responsibility-taking) and Affection (deep personal relationships). In 1977, "locator charts" were produced for each area by Dr. Leo Ryan, providing a map of the various scores, following the Managerial Grid model, with unofficial names assigned to different score ranges. They were generally grouped into five main types for each area, in the vein of the Managerial Grid and TKI, except that moderate scores (generally 4, 5) in only one dimension (with the other dimension being high or low) were given separate names, creating nine basic groups for each area (low e/w, low e/high w, low e/moderate w, etc.). In the control area, there is a tenth group created by a further division of the low e/high w range.

This would form the basis of the Five Temperaments theory by Dr. Richard G. and Phyllis Arno, in which the ancient temperaments were mapped to the FIRO-B scales (in all three areas), with Phlegmatic becoming the moderate e/w instead of low e/high w, which was now taken to constitute a fifth temperament called "Supine", which has many of the "introverted and relationship oriented" traits of the other types defined as such, above. (The "Wanted behavior" scale is generally renamed "Responsive behavior"). The moderate scores mixed with high or low are designated "Phlegmatic blends" and divided with 4 being a blend of Phlegmatic with the lower adjacent temperament, and 5 being a blend with the higher adjacent temperament. This results in 13 separate ranges in each area.

Other factor pairs[edit]

Other factors devised along the way measured other aspects of personality, mostly cognitive aspects. This would form a second strain of temperament theory, one which enjoys the most popularity today.

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) defined his typology by a duality of the beautiful and sublime, and concluded it was possible to represent the four temperaments with a square of opposition using the presence or absence of the two attributes. He determined that the phlegmatic type has no interest in either the beautiful or the sublime, so there was an absence of both (sb). The melancholic had a feeling for both (SB), and the sanguine had a predominating feeling for the beautiful (sB), while the choleric, he determined after comparing with the melancholic, lacked a sense of beauty and had only a sense of the sublime (Sb).[9]

Hans Eysenck (1916–1997) was one of the first psychologists to analyze personality differences using a psycho-statistical method (factor analysis), and his research led him to believe that temperament is biologically based. In his book Dimensions of Personality (1947) he paired Extraversion (E), which was "the tendency to enjoy positive events", especially social ones, with Neuroticism (N), which was the tendency to experience negative emotions. By pairing the two dimensions, Eysenck noted how the results were similar to the four ancient temperaments.

  • High N, High E = Choleric
  • High N, Low E = Melancholy (also called "Melancholic")
  • Low N, High E = Sanguine
  • Low N, Low E = Phlegmatic

He later added a third dimension, psychoticism, resulting in his "P-E-N" three factor model of personality. This has been correlated with two separate factors developed by the Big Five personality traits (Five Factor Model), called "agreeableness" and "conscientiousness"; the former being similar to the people/task orientation scale elaborated above. Neuroticism in Eysenck's case acted like the people/task-orientation scale (except for being inverted as to which temperaments were "high" or "low"), but was later separated as a distinct factor in the Big Five.

Carl Jung, in the early 20th century, introduced the four factors that would become a part of the later MBTI, and these included extroversion/introversion, sensing and intuition, and thinking/feeling, which would be correlated to Agreeableness, with Judging-Perceiving roughly as Conscientiousness.

Ernst Kretschmer (1888–1964) divided personality into two "constitutional groups": Schizothymic, which contain a "Psychaesthetic proportion" between sensitive and cold poles, and Cyclothymic which contain a "Diathetic" proportion between gay and sad. The Schizoids consist of the Hyperesthetic (sensitive) and Anesthetic (Cold) characters, and the Cycloids consist of the Depressive (or "melancholic") and Hypomanic characters.

David W. Keirsey would make the connection of the two groups with Myers' Sensors and iNtuitors, providing the two factors for his four temperaments.[10] He would rename Sensing to "Observant" or "Concrete", and Intuiting to "Introspection" or "Abstract", and pair it with "Cooperative" versus "Pragmatic" (or "Utilitarian") which would be the "Conscientiousness" scale; to form:

  • SP Artisan (Concrete, Pragmatic)
  • SJ Guardian (Concrete, Cooperative)
  • NT Rational (Abstract, Pragmatic)
  • NF Idealist (Abstract, Cooperative)

Keirsey also divided his temperaments by "Role-Informative"/"Role Directive" to form eight "intelligence types"; and finally by E/I, to yield the 16 types of the MBTI. It was when his former student, Berens, paired the latter two factors separately that she yielded here Interaction Styles, discussed above. Keirsey also divided the intelligence types by I/E into "roles of interaction".[11]

The Enneagram of Personality would map its nine types to a matrix, whose scales are "Surface Direction" and "Deep Direction". These are similar to Extroversion and people/task-orientation, but instead of the types being plotted on a scale of 0–9, Horney's original three grades of "towards", "away", and "against" were retained, and now used in both dimensions (graded respectively, as "+", "0" and "-"). This changes the criteria, as the "moderate" (0) grade is considered "away", but this does not necessarily correspond to the moderate extroversion or agreeableness scores of the other instruments.

Table of theories and instruments using extroversion and people-task-orientation[edit]

Date Founder Extroversion scales People-task orientation scale Introverted, task-oriented Extroverted, task-oriented Extroverted, relationship-oriented Introverted, relationship-oriented Moderate
c. 450 BC Classical elements Scales not recognized Areas not recognized earth fire air water ether
c. 400 BC Hippocrates' four humours Scales not recognized Areas not recognized black bile yellow bile blood phlegm Not Recognized
Scales not recognized Areas not recognized autumn, adulthood, gallbladder, dry/cold summer, youth, spleen, hot/dry spring, infancy, liver, wet/hot winter, old-age, brain/lungs, cold/wet Not Recognized
c. 190 Galen's four temperaments response-delay
(quick, slow)
(short, long)
melancholic choleric sanguine phlegmatic Not Recognized
c. 1025 Avicenna's four primary temperaments[12] morbid states, functional power, subjective sensations, physical signs Areas not distinguished rheumatism, insomnia, wakefulness, acquired habit, lack of desire for fluids loss of vigour, deficient energy, insomnia, wakefulness, high pulse rate, lassitude, acquired habit loss of vigour, lassitude, deficient energy, sleepiness, high pulse rate, lassitude rheumatism, lassitude, lack of desire for fluids, sleepiness Not Recognized
c. 1900 Ivan Pavlov's four temperaments Passivity:
(Active or
(Extreme response or
Moderate response)
melancholic (Weak inhibitory) choleric (Strong excitatory) sanguine (Lively) phlegmatic (Calm imperturbable) Not Recognized
c. 1900 Alfred Adler's four Styles of Life "activity" "social interest" Avoiding Ruling or Dominant Socially Useful Getting or Leaning Not Recognized
c. 1928 William Marston and John G. Geier DiSC assessment Assertive/
Dominance Influence Steadiness Not Recognized
c. 1947 Erich Fromm's four Types of Character assimilation socialization Hoarding Exploitative Marketing Receptive Not Recognized
c. 1948 California Psychological Inventory CPI 260 action,
social confidence/
inner life, privacy
/questioning, stability/value system, Agreeable/
Visualizer Leader Innovator Supporter Not Recognized
1958 MBTI codes E/I, Informative/Directive
(mapped by David Keirsey)
c. 1958 William Schutz, FIRO-B Expressed Wanted See FIRO article for score names.
c. 1960s Stuart Atkins LIFO's four Orientations To Life Planning vs.Doing Directing vs. Inspiring Conserving-Holding Controlling-Taking Adapting-Dealing Supporting-Giving Not Recognized
c. 1960s David Merrill, "Social Styles" Assertiveness (Ask-Tell) Responsiveness (Control-Emote) Analytical Driving Expressive Amiable Not Recognized
1964 Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid Model Concern for People, Productivity Areas not distinguished Impoverished Produce or Perish Team Type Country Club Middle of the Road
c. 1966 Temperament by LaHaye Compares other instruments [13] Areas not distinguished Melancholy Choleric Sanguine Phlegmatic "passive sanguine" [14]
1973 Jay Hall Conflict Management[15] Concern for personal goals Concern for relationships Avoid, leave-lose/lose Compete, control-win/lose Collaborate, synergy-win/win Accommodate, yield-lose/win Compromise-win a bit/lose a bit
1974 Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Modes[16] Assertiveness Cooperativeness Avoiding Competing Collaborating Accommodating Compromising
1970's Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument Not Recognized Not Recognized Analytical Thinking Imaginative Thinking Interpersonal Thinking Sequential Thinking Not Recognized
c. 1984 The Arno Profile System (Five Temperaments) Expressive Responsive Melancholy Choleric Sanguine Supine Phlegmatic
c. 1995 Worley Identification Discovery Profile Demonstrated, Desired Social, Leadership, Relationship Melancholy Choleric Sanguine Phlegmatic Introverted Sanguine
c. 1996 Tony Alessandra Personality Styles Indirect/Direct Open/Guarded Thinker Director Socializer Relater Not Recognized
c. 1998 Hartman Personality Profile Not recognized Not recognized Blue Red Yellow White Not recognized
c. 2001 Linda V. Berens' four Interaction Styles Initiating-Responding Informing-
Chart the Course In Charge Get Things Going Behind the Scenes Not Recognized
2014 Erikson’s behavior types Not recognized Not recognized Blue Red Yellow Green Not recognized

Systems using other factors[edit]

Founder first factor second factor Low E/Low N High E/High N High E/Low N Low E/High N
Eysenck's four temperaments extroversion, "Neuroticism" Phlegmatic Sanguine Choleric Melancholic

Factors of perception[edit]

Date Founder first factor second factor Low first and second factors high first factor low second factor high first and second factors low first factor, high second factor
c. 1800 Kant's four temperaments recognition of beauty recognition of sublime Phlegmatic Sanguine Melancholic Choleric
c.1920 Kretschmer's four characters Schizothymic (sensitive/cold) Cyclothymic (gay/sad) Anesthetic Hypomanic Depressive Hyperesthetic
c. 1978 Keirsey's four temperaments "Concrete"/Abstract"
"Cooperative"/"Pragmatic" Rational Artisan Guardian Idealist


Deep (long-term) Direction Surface (short-term) Direction -/- -/+ +/+ +/- 0/0 0/- 0/+ -/0 +/0
(- 0 +) (- 0 +) Type 8 "Leader" Type 2 "Helper" Type 6 "Loyalist" Type 3 "Motivator" Type 4 "Individualist" Type 1 "Reformer" Type 7 "Enthusiast" Type 5 "Investigator" Type 9 "Peacemaker"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boeree, George. "Early Medicine and Physiology". Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  2. ^ Chiappelli, Francesco; Prolo, Paolo; Cajulis, Olivia S. "Evidence-based Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine I: History". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2 (4): 453–458. doi:10.1093/ecam/neh106. PMC 1297495. PMID 16322801.
  3. ^ "Alfred Adler". Eastern Illinois University. Archived from the original on April 30, 2006.
  4. ^ Boeree, George. "Alfred Adler". Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Specific Action Corporation's Most Frequently Asked Questions on DiSC Profiles". Specific Action Corporation. Archived from the original on January 6, 2007.
  6. ^ Kagan, Jerome (1998), Galen's Prophecy: Temperament In Human Nature, New York: Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08405-2
  7. ^ "Inherent Temperament". Greek Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  8. ^ Partridge, T (2003). "Temperament: Developmental and ecological dimensions". In: Miller, J. R.; Lerner, R. M.; Schiamberg, L. B. (eds.). Human Ecology: An Encyclopedia of Children, Families, Communities, and Environments. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. pp. 678–682.
  9. ^ "Psychological Types". The Proceedings of the Friesian School, Fourth Series. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  10. ^ Arraj, James (1990). "Chapter 10: Type and Psychopathology". Tracking the Elusive Human, Vol. 2. ISBN 0-914073-36-2.
  11. ^ Keirsey, David (2008). Brains and Careers: The Story of Personology. Intj Books. ISBN 9781885705211.
  12. ^ Lutz, Peter L. (2002). The Rise of Experimental Biology: An Illustrated History. Humana Press. p. 60. ISBN 0896038351. OCLC 47894348.
  13. ^ LaHaye, Tim (2012). "Uses of Temperament in the Workplace". Why You Act the Way You Do. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. ISBN 9781414375755.
  14. ^ Not recognized as separate "temperament" from Sanguine. (Cited in Arno Temperament Theory manual p. 165.; NCCA, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994).
  15. ^ "Conflict-Management Style" (PDF). The Leadership Center At Washington State University. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  16. ^ Thomas, Kenneth W.; Kilman, Ralph H. (March 19, 2001). "Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument: Profile and Interpretive Report" (PDF). Consulting Psychologists Press. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 4, 2003.