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  1. #1
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    Default A new/old take on temperament theory: Has anyone heard of this?

    Here's an article from Salon.com:

    http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/08/20/chemistry/

    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:

    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.
    How serotonin and dopamine express themselves physically? My only response is: Are you kidding me?

    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?

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethy View Post
    It wasn't Plato who came up with those labels (Artisan, Guardian, etc.). It was David Keirsey. That's a pretty big blunder.
    It hurt to even read, because it was such a STRONGLY worded mistakes... about such a BASIC part of general typology. Plato used humours:

    The Four Humours and Classical Thought

    '[In classic times] medicine was equated with philosophy and three Greek philosophers Wikipedia link Hippocrates (c.460 - 370 b.c.e.), Plato (427-348 b.c.e.) and Aristotle (384-322 b.c.e.) contributed to the vision of health, disease and the functions of the body. Although they had differences in general they saw health as an equilibrium of the body as determined by the four humors.

    Sap in plants and the blood in animals is the fount of life. Other body fluids- phlegm, bile, faeces, became visible in illness when the balance is disturbed. For instance, epilepsy, the sacred disease was due to phlegm blocking the airways that caused the body to struggle and convulse to free itself. Mania was due to bile boiling in the brain. Black bile was a late addition to disease theory and was associated with melancholy.'
    Gee. Even Tim LaHaye got THAT part right.

    I'm not saying that personality type has no biological component whatsoever, but this seems a little too simplistic and cut-and-dried...
    Yes, that is what I was going to write... except I see you said it first.

    It would be interesting to see if there's any neurochemical connection between different "types" of people. (Fun questions, like "Do INFP males have a higher concentration of estrogen in their body than others?") But SO simplistic -- well, I just do not know.

    especially when she suggests that we revive a newfangled version of phrenology
    I think that is a large mistake. There are genetics involved in appearance, along with any hormonal influences. She is making gross generalizations seemingly in the attempt to peddle a product.

    Testosterone is ONE androgen (among many androgens in the body) that does contribute to noticeable changes in facial structure during adolescence; and it is clear that the average male and female skulls possess some patterns in their shape; but there is still a large diversity of appearances within gender itself.... let alone personality.

    How serotonin and dopamine express themselves physically?
    People without them look unhappy and suicidal?

    I smell a quack here.
    Yes. I hear a duck.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Wannabe genius Splittet's Avatar
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    To me she only seems to bring flawed male/female stereotypes to the table ...

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I didn't really think the article was written to good research standards. I'm probably going to dismiss it on those grounds, because I've already researched everything she's talking about, and understand it well enough to know that that is too simplistic. She has some good ideas, she just doesn't really understand them, or how to apply them properly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    I wonder what her type is.


    I've heard eHarmony.com is quite successful, and I think they use some MB type elements in their interview process.

  6. #6
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bethy View Post
    How serotonin and dopamine express themselves physically? My only response is: Are you kidding me?
    Effects of serotonin and dopamine varies depending on the specific region it was taken up in. Depressed people tend to have lower levels of monoamines... hence the current use of SSRI for treatment.

    However things aren't so simple... For example did you know that in the womb, testosterone which is termed the "male sex hormone" makes a fetus become a boy because it can pass the blood-brain barrier so that it can be converted to estrogen? It's estrogen, the "female sex hormone", that makes a boy develop testes. Interactions between hormones like neurotransmitters are complex. Even if they found INFP men have higher blood estrogen... it means nothing unless they know how it makes them act differently.

    I smell a quack here.

    What are your thoughts?
    Last time I read another article trying to relate physiological difference to personality types... I ended up being upset for hours (braintypes)

    From what you've been quoting... the prospect of this one being like the last one is very high. I rather not read it. lol
    \

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightning View Post
    Effects of serotonin and dopamine varies depending on the specific region it was taken up in. Depressed people tend to have lower levels of monoamines... hence the current use of SSRI for treatment.
    I know that. I work in the psychiatry department of a pharmaceutical company.


    It was my understanding that when Fisher said "physical expression," she meant phenotype; visible features. Not brain chemistry or behavior. Those are the examples she gave in that particular passage.

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