Here's an article from Salon.com:
Helen Fisher is an anthropologist who runs an online dating site, Chemistry.com , based on the Four-Temperaments theory, with her own twist. Here's what she says about it, in the interview from the article:
HF:....Plato came up with these four types, and then Aristotle, and Galen in the second century A.D., and then Carl Jung. We've known about these types for hundreds of years. What I've done is add that biological component.
Interviewer: Did Plato divide them into four categories as well?
HF: Yes. What I call the Explorer he calls the Artisan, what I call the Builder he calls the Guardian, what I call the Negotiator he calls the Idealist, and what I call the Director he calls the Rational. Frankly, I would not have made up new names if I had known the originals. You can't beat Plato.
It wasn't Plato who came up with those labels (Artisan, Guardian, etc.). It was David Keirsey. That's a pretty big blunder.
And as for adding the biological component: Is she unaware that it was already there? Western medicine was once based on the balance of the Four Humours. Fisher updates this to hormones:
According to Fisher's formulation, negotiators are powered by estrogen, intuitive, socially skilled, imaginative and sympathetic; testosterone-fueled directors are focused, ambitious, daring and independent; explorers are dopamine-driven risk-takers who are spontaneous, curious and adaptable; and solid builders have a lot of serotonin that makes them calm, sociable, conscientious and domestically oriented.
I'm not saying that personality type has no biological component whatsoever, but this seems a little too simplistic and cut-and-dried, especially when she suggests that we revive a newfangled version of phrenology:
How serotonin and dopamine express themselves physically? My only response is: Are you kidding me?What I'm discovering on the site is how much you can read someone's face. We know you can read testosterone signs: the heavy jaw, heavy brow ridge, and little round face for estrogen. What we will do eventually is figure out how serotonin and dopamine express themselves physically.
According to her theory, I am a Negotiator and thus estrogen-driven and should therefore have a "little round face." For the record, my face is neither little nor particularly round.
I smell a quack here.
What are your thoughts?