What temperament are you?

A friend of mine announced to me a couple of weeks ago that he was phlegmatic. He didn’t strike me as being particularly calm or as someone who does not get excited easily which is what phlegmatic usually means, but he then went on to explain that he had been asked to a quick test in one of his classes and he was a ‘phlegmatic type’. Curious, I immediately did the same test to see what type I was!

There have always been theories about how our personalities are formed and influenced. One of the oldest is called Humorism and comes from Greek and Arabic medicine which believed that our personalities were in some way affected by the liquids in our body. The more a particular liquid, the greater influence it had on our emotions.  Phlegm, for instance, is the mucus we find in our lungs.  Ancient medicine believed that the more phlegm there was in the body, the calmer or the more phlegmatic we would be.

In all, there are four temperaments, each relating to a particular liquid in the body:

  1. Sanguine – blood
  2. Phlegmatic – phlegm
  3. Choleric – black bile (a liquid believed to come from the kidneys)
  4. Melancholic – yellow bile (a liquid believed to come from the liver)

In Elizabethan times, your temperament often determined what you ate. Some foods were not suitable for particular temperaments. In The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare, servants are criticised for serving mutton to people who are choleric. Wine was considered to be good for phlegmatics to counteract their calmness (wine is a choleric drink).

Even modern psychologists like Carl Jung, who was a contemporary of Freud, believed that there were a series of sixteen temperaments. There are distinct parallels between Jung’s temperaments and the four ancient temperaments.

After determining your temperament, you can also see if you are compatible with the partner you may have. Some temperaments go well together and some less well!

I did the test quickly. You are not supposed to think too hard about the questions – just choose what you think you would probably do in a given situation, or your typical behaviour, and try and be honest to yourself.

I found, to my initial dismay, that I was a melancholic type. Was I really a melancholic type, who was generally depressed and pessimistic about life? A little bit of research reassured me however and I think that part of it might be true! How about you? What temperament are you? Click on the Start button below and answer eight questions.


Test adapted from Four Temperaments Test – Psychologia

Does the result of the test correspond to how you see yourself?  You can check the links below to find out more about the different temperament types and their compatibilities.

Other Sources and links

Humorism – Wikipedia

Personality Compatibility Analysis – Ask Women Net

Four Temperaments – Psychologia



lungs (n) – the parts of the body we use to breathe

mutton (n)  – cooked sheep

counteract (v) – act against

distinct (adj) – clear

dismay (n) – unhappiness or disappointment



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One comment on “Personality
  1. Reetta says:

    Fun quiz!

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