Keirsey’s Temperament Classifier is a tool used in the field of personal growth and human resources. It lets you know what kind of personality you have and relate it to a useful role in everyday life.
This questionnaire is interesting because it starts from the ancestral idea of temperament, already described by the classical Greeks, although reformulated in a modern perspective. Let’s take a closer look at this interesting and complex model.
Keirsey’s Temperament Classifier: what is it?
The Keirsey Temperament Classifier is a model and, at the same time, a quiz designed to help people understand each other. It was developed by American psychologist David Keirsey, Which was inspired by ancestral concepts of temperament like the propositions of Hippocrates and Plato, like some more recent ones, like that of Myers-Higgs and Ernst Kretschmer.
In this model, Keirsey has a somewhat peculiar take on what temperament would be like. While temperament is traditionally seen as a personality style, relating it to the emotional reaction that a subject may face to different types of events, Keirsey’s design also has understands aspects related to intelligence and preferences, Something related to the dimension of openness to experience the model of the five major factors.
The questionnaire used consists of 70 questions, each with two response options in which the person’s preferences are measured. Although it is related to the concept of intelligence, it does not measure it, nor does it measure the extent to which we are given specific skills.
At the end, the subject who did it will have comments on their most accomplished behaviors.. These behaviors allow us to know what we look like, as well as to understand in first person how we behave. It also shows what the strengths are, not in terms of measured abilities, but what one thinks is strongest.
This questionnaire is generally used individually and is very easy to use. Some organizations, such as the United States government, schools, and even large corporations such as Coca-Cola or the Bank of America use it to have an elaborate profile of the person applying for a job.
Before going into more detail on the temperaments proposed by Keirsey, it becomes necessary to explain his proposal on the basis of four levels, which he calls the rings as if they were those of a tree trunk. these structure and shape each of the temperaments, roles and varied roles that compose them.
1. Outer ring: abstract and concrete
According to Keirsey, everyone has a knowledge of the world made up of two processes that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: observation and introspection.
In the model, observation is understood as the gathering of information from the outside, in an objective manner and captured by the senses. For example, when we look at a painting, eat an apple, or listen to a melody, we observe depending on the model.
Introspection would become what the subject shares in his inner world, his ideas. In other words, he believes in something that does not exist, to shape the real world himself.
There are people who look more to the outside world, which is more objective and concrete, while others choose to look more to their abstraction.
The most specific people would be those with their feet on the ground, Focused on concepts that refer to very specific elements of their environment, while those that are more abstract, would be those with their heads in the clouds, centered on general and broad concepts.
2. Second ring: cooperative and pragmatic
The most cooperative people are those who are preoccupied with the opinions and thoughts of others, particularly interested in their emotions and concerns.
Pragmatic people, on the other hand, focus more on their own thinking, And focus all of your efforts on using methods that really work before you know the opinions of others when taking a certain action.
These are the first and second rings of this tree proposed by Keirsey that make up the four temperaments of the model: rational (pragmatic and abstract), craftsmen (pragmatic and concrete), idealist (cooperative and abstract) and guardians (cooperative and concrete).
3. Third ring: proactive and reactive
In the third ring, a distinction is made between those who communicate with others by informing them of an action to be taken, the proactive, from those who give the orders and direct the reactive. Each of the four temperaments has these two roles. This represents up to 8 main roles in the model.
4. Fourth ring: expressive and attentive
Finally, we have the fourth ring, in which we can find the variant roles, which are two for each general role of the model, Which makes a total of sixteen of them.
The expressive role refers to who chooses to express, that is, to clearly show his intentions, while the attentive chooses to work more secretly.
The 4 temperaments of the model
Having seen the structure of temperaments, we proceed to explain, in more detail, each of them:
According to Keirsey’s model, the “craftsman” temperament is defined as that of a person who tends to adapt to the situation and who is led to take concrete action. They are pragmatic and concrete. Craftsmen need constant stimulation and want to improve their skills to become virtuous in what they love. They want to stand out for what they love to do.
They are generally willing to work with their hands, in addition to having good mental agility to adapt to changing environments and situations. They are good at solving problems.
The proactive role of the craftsman is that of the operators, the most notable skill being exploration, And its two different roles are the “ craftsmen ” or artisans (attentive) and the promoters (expressive).
The role of the reactive craftsman is that of artists or “artists”, who are familiar with improvisation. Its two variant roles would be that of the composers (attentive) and that of the performers (expressive).
Their behavior is organized rather than intuitive, and they seek safety. They are cooperative and concrete. They feel a great need to belong to someone, to be attached to another person. Responsibility and duty are extremely important to guardians. They are very good at organizing, registering and are a good source of trust for others. They must have well organized schedules. Its maximum strength is logistics.
The proactive role of the proactive tutor is that of the administrators, who benefit from very good regulations and organization. We have in this role inspectors (attentive) and supervisors (expressive).
The role of reactive tutor is that of conservatives, the most developed skill is to support others. Roles within it, we have the protectors (attentive) and providers (expressive).
Idealists are cooperative and abstract. For them, the most important is a sense of self. They are looking for their personal identity, their growth as individuals. His most developed natural skill is diplomacy. This temperament is that of people who inspire confidence, those who inspire.
From an idealistic proactive role, we have mentors, who are responsible for helping others develop. In them would be (attentive) counselors and (expressive) teachers.
In the idealistic reactive role, we have the promoters, the ones who are very good at mediation. In them we have the healers (attentive) and the champions (expressive).
Rational people are pragmatic and abstract. For them, the important thing is knowledge and competence. They want to be good at what they do and they strive to master what they would like without having to come under external pressure. They are well versed in strategy, theorizing, project coordination, concept development and are good at engineering.
From rational proactive paper, we have the coordinators, who are well ordered. In them we have the master spirits (attentive) and the field marshals or commanders (expressive).
Reagent paper, we have engineers, the most developed skill is to build. Inside we have the architects (attentive) and inventors (expressive).
- Cattell, RB, (1947). Confirmation and clarification of the main personality factors. Psychometrics, 12, 197-220.
- Keirsey, D. (1978). Please understand me II: temperament, character, intelligence (1st ed.). Prometheus Nemesis Book Co. ISBN 1-885705-02-6.