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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is a rather long description of a typology I've developed based on somatotypes. I believe it does more than describe temperament. I believe it EXPLAINS it.

In ancient Greece people were classified into four types each associated with a body fluid; melancholic-black bile, choleric-yellow bile, phlegmatic-mucus, and sanguine-blood. If you look up each of these temperaments in a dictionary you will find that they are tied in with a dominant emotion; melancholic-fearful, choleric-anger, phlegmatic passive, sanguine cheerful. As you study the history of psychology you keep bumping into this dominant pattern. It really isn’t known who came up with this idea. It has been attributed to the physicians Galen and Hippocrates, but it surely goes back even further in time. It doesn’t really matter because it is for the most part an ancient hunch. It seems to have been viewed as an adequate description but there may in fact be something “real” lurking under this classification schema.

At least the system of four classic temperaments was scientific enough to be explained by natural causes (body fluids) and not by some kind of spirit possession. They were trying to describe AND explain. Science seems to be slower at “explaining” than at “describing”. Today, the four descriptive categories of temperament remain even though the old explanation proved false. It is interesting that finally the Big Five has narrowed down the number of significant factors very close to four and it is surprising how close those factors are to the four temperaments popular in the ancient world. Apparently the usefulness of these categories has persisted as seen in the following list of some popular models of human personality.

Phlegmatic Choleric Melancholic Sanguine
Pavlov/ Excitatory - Quiet - Inhibitory - Lively
S. Diamond/ Aggressiveness - Affiliativeness - Fearfulness - Impulsiveness
G. Murphy/ Action Needs - Visceral Needs - Need To Escape Danger - Sensory Needs
Max Luscher/ Red Personality - Blue Personality - Green Personality - Yellow Personality
Jung/ Sensation - Feeling - Thinking - Intuition
Fromm/ Exploitative - Receptive - Hoarding - Marketing
Adler/ Dominant - Getting - Avoiding - Socially Useful

What does this list of patterns of four prove? It doesn’t prove anything. Instead it points out the terrain where something valuable might be discovered. It’s similar to geologists looking for structures associated with oil deposits. They may not be completely sure at first, but then as more tests are carried out and the exploration is continued, the probability of finding something increases. For the sake of this explanation just keep these patterns in mind. You will reconnect with some of these ideas later.

The vertical columns in the table suggest possible similarities between the different theories. Depending on how much time you have it is easy to research the terms in connection with each theorist. It must be conceded that there are other patterns with factors numbering 3,5,6 etc. Almost any system of categorizing can be expanded or contracted to fit your purpose.

Whatever the number of super factors that is finally settled upon, we need to realize that there must be something “Super” or “Big” that structures these factors. What might we be looking for and where should we look? If there are such “Big” structures they shouldn’t be hard to find. So, why isn’t there a consensus about the causes of the Big factors? This is a classic example of the idiomatic expression “not being able to see the forest for the trees”. Researchers have a tendency to focus on the brain to discover the “Big” factors. They dig deeply into the chemistry of the brain hoping to find the “Big” connections. In the end they completely miss the “Big” picture. The brain is part of a bigger system - the nervous system. And the nervous system is only one of the systems that make up an organism. If we’re going to find the “Big” structures, we must look at the mix of ALL of an organism’s major systems. By doing this, we can avoid getting tangled up in a level of observation that is dependent on a complex technology that would only yield bits and pieces of information. It is the macro-structures that should be the starting point, not the micro-structures. It is the “Big” things of the organism that have the potency to create the problems that emerge from the clash of temperaments in marriages, families, work teams, within nations and between nations.


So the problem comes down to identifying the big functions of an organism and somehow measuring them. Sheldon’s somatotype theory both identifies and measures the big systems of the human body. He spent a lifetime looking directly at what is hiding in plain sight. He classifies the very thing we overlook and take for granted - the human body. Look at the connection endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy have with the big functions of a living organism.

Endomorphy = Visceral System. An animal needs to eat. There is no life at all without the “big” tube (intestines). Living things must have a metabolism or there is nothing.

Mesomorphy = Muscular System. An animal needs to move. It needs to move toward food and away from danger.

Ectomorphy = Nervous System. An animal needs coordinated and rapid movement to capture food and escape danger. The nervous system is an emergency system. It records routines and strategies that can be quickly initiated when needed. It deals with things that suddenly come into view.

It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine that if a person is structured with an emphasis on the gut, this will have the effect of conditioning a person to be interested in food, and the comfort of feeling full and a desire to arrange a comfortable and relaxing environment conducive to carrying out the work of digestion. If a person is structured with a strong muscular body, wouldn’t you expect that those muscles would want to move and facilitate activity and gain proficiency at dominating their world? A stretched out, lean ectomorph, with a high surface to volume ratio could be expected to be vigilant about protecting that boundary/surface area.

If you’ve been keeping track you should have noticed that Sheldon’s theory only involves three structures. Are we missing something? Aren’t there at least four temperaments? Is there a missing “fourth” system/structure? And if there is fourth, could there be a fifth? How can we know?

Let’s turn again to the ancient Greeks. Aristotle, in his treatise on the soul refers to four capacities.

For the present let it suffice to say that soul
is the principle of the capacities we have named
the nutritive, the sensitive, the ratiocinative, and

Let’s match these up with Sheldon’s dimensions:

Nutritive = Endomorphy
Movement = Mesomorphy
Ratiocination (thinking) =Ectomorphy
Sensitive = (blank)

It appears Sheldon’s schema is missing the Sensory system. We will fill in that blank shortly. In the meantime we must agree that an animal needs information from its environment. The nervous system keeps an organism on course, but if a situation changes, it needs to know when to change directions. That is the function of the Sensory system. It tells the organism when something is different.

Now back to the question about whether there is a fifth essential function. Can you think of one? There is a way figuring out why there are four, and only four necessary systems/structures. To do that we have to gain some objectivity. We have to step way out of our “selves” to accomplish this.

Consider an inanimate object - a chunk of matter. What can we say about a “chunk” without using words that involve size, shape, texture, color, taste or any other qualitative word ? Well, get ready because I’m going to claim that there are four and ONLY FOUR things that you can say about “chunks”.

1. First of all, you can claim that there is some cause of the “chunk”. If you follow the “chunk” back in time you will probably find that a couple of larger “chunks” collided and broke into pieces, one of which is the very same “chunk” we are considering.

2. Next you can claim that the chunk is in motion. Even a “chunk” sitting on the ground is moving - it’s moving toward the center of the Earth because of gravity.

3. You can say that it is moving in one certain direction. If a “chunk” were to start moving in several directions at once it would cease to be one “chunk”. It would lose its integrity. The movement of a “chunk” in one direction preserves the “chunk’s” integrity.

4. Finally,the “chunk” is not everywhere, but it is moving in a certain space relative to other “chunks”.

Now let’s see what we can use from this description of a “chunk” that will help us understand what is essential for a living organism. You can make the same claims about living organisms by simply adding the word “self”.

Organisms are:

1. Self-causing/forming/metabolizing. This refers to the fact that biological entities are constantly forming themselves by means of metabolic processes.

2. Self-moving. Their movement is not the simple result of an external force and inertia. They have muscles or in the case of microscopic organisms, flagella.

3. Self-directing. To maintain integrity organisms react for self-preservation. Their trajectory is mediated by choice rather than external forces.

4. Self-orienting. They determine where they are in relation to other objects.

This list makes up the minimum essential systems in a living organism. The systems may vary in complexity with the type of organism we are observing, but the functions are essential and not arbitrary.


It may seem strange to start out with a strong emphasis on patterns of four and then focus on a method of classification that is clearly based on three dimensions. But there is a hidden fourth factor in Sheldon’s schema. If you look closely at an equilateral triangle, you’ll notice that it consists not only of three points equidistant from each other, but it also has a middle, which is equi-distant from all three points. It may sound contradictory, but what about the “extreme” middle? Perhaps there is something about the middle that we should explore?

If the middle, in fact constitutes a fourth system, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out which one it would be. The only system remaining unaccounted for is the sensory system. If this is the case, we need to find out what is so special about the middle that it could be considered sensory dominance. What is there about the middle that would allow the organism to go into the sensory, exploratory or searching mode?

The middle suggests balance. What situation results from balance? In a tug-o-war type of struggle for dominance, an equality of forces will cancel each other out. If the strength of the participants is close to equal, the situation becomes extremely sensitive to factors in the environment, such as wind direction and speed, or the condition of the playing field. Could it be that the sensory system is allowed to dominate only when the other systems are out of the way? A scale that is balanced can be affected by the slightest input of information. A mere pin is often enough to push the whole system into motion even though the total mass of the system is thousands of time greater. Clearly, influences outside of a balanced system become very important.

How does this idea fit into the dynamics of an organism? Experiments on the exploratory behavior of animals seem to indicate that food and water deprivation decreases explorative behavior of rats, suggesting that satisfaction of the primary drives is a prerequisite for strong exploratory behavior. This concept holds even with smarter animals. H.F. Harlow noticed this tendency in his experiments with primates. “Mice, Monkeys, Men and Motives” Psychological Review Vol. 60,23-32,1953

The famous developmental psychologist Jean Piaget describes something similar:

“Hunger for stimuli, then is essentially an expression
of the fact that at a time when no other particular schema
is exerting any controlling action (or, in other words, when
none is making itself felt by means of any actual and
compelling need), the animal is not passive but remains
in a constantly seeking state for functional stimuli such as
may put one or other of these schemata into action.”
Biology and Knowledge Jean Piaget: University of Chicago
Press 1971

Zoologist, Hans Hass (1970) joins this chorus about the exploratory drive:

“It is characteristic of the inquisitive urge that it makes
itself felt with particular force when no other instictive
pressure exists, in other words, when other impulses have
waned. As Schiller put it: ‘The animal works when a
deficiency is the mainspring of its activity and plays when
the mainspring is an abundance of strength.’ As long as
his actions are governed, say by fear, hunger, or sexual
desire, man is not inquisitive either.

Only when he is without appetencies does he become
venturesome and willful. It is then that he feels an urge
to abandon the normal pattern of existence, whatever the
alternative. It is then that the Dionysiac, the daring and
truly human element in man, come to the fore.” The Human
Animal Hans Hass New York: Putnam 1970

Although Sheldon had no name for the middle “extreme” and simply referred to it as a 4,4,4 he certainly had some interesting things to say about it. Consider his description of the middle.

“4,4,4 is probably about as close as human flesh gets to God.
In this pattern all three primary components of temperament
are as strongly represented as they can usually be tolerated,
one by another. To call a man a 4,4,4 may be tantamount
to crediting him with humor. Whatever else humor may be,
it certainly is characterized by two qualities: (1) An inclination toward detachment - the quality of regarding life and self
lightly: (2) An inclination to tolerate and to enjoy
incompatibilities at a high level of awareness.” The Varieties
Of Delinquent Youths. New York: Harper, 1949

What Sheldon has essentially said is that a 4,4,4 is a creative person. Consider Solomon Diamond’s explanation of humor and you will start to see the tie-in with creativity.

‘The humorous attitude does not merely tolerate instability,
but actively seeks it and delights in mastering it. It
constitutes an intellectual adventurism, which gains
satisfaction from simultaneously experiencing the same field
as structured in two, even three or more, different ways.”
Personality and Temperament New York: Harper, 1957

Abraham Maslow, in his description of the self-actualizing person and their “creative” nature, gives us further insight to the significance of the 4,4,4’s
“Inclination to regard life and self lightly.”

“I think that our understanding of perception and therefore
of the perceived world will be much changed and enlarged
if we study carefully the distinction between need-interested
and need-disinterested or desire-less perception. Because
the latter is much more concrete and less abstracted and
selective, it is possible for such a person to see more easily
the intrinsic nature of the percept. Also, he can perceive
simultaneously the opposites, the dichotomies, the
polarities, the contradictions and the incompatibles.” Toward
A Psychology of Being New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

Many articles on creativity have discussed the so-called “blocks” to creative development. These blocks are nothing more than the attitudes that would be characteristic of a person as he moved away from the center toward one of the extremes. The ectomorph’s overly critical, sensitive and judgemental attitude would hinder his approach to a problem. The mesomorph’s desire to get the show on the road, along with his desire to control and dominate, would make him too impatient for the ideal solution. Too much concern with pleasing people would make the aloneness of exploration and innovation unbearable for the endomorph. Only the middle provides a haven free from these blocks to creativity.

If you study the descriptions of the Sanguine temperament you will find a strong connection with the middle region of Sheldon’s system. These quotes are not to be considered “hard” proof of the middle type, but they should illustrate an insight that has been shared by many skilled observers with differing perspectives over a long period of time.


This seems to be an appropriate time to give the middle type a name. My preference is for calling the middle type a “Sensomorph”. Some have suggested “equimorph” to fit Sheldon’s terminology. However, this could get confused with mesomorph which refers to the middle layer of the developing embryo. At least “Sensomorph” describes what is unique about the middle type. While it doesn’t match Sheldon’s terminology, it isn’t really necessary because, in reality, the middle type is not a true dimension of the body based on the layers that develop in the embryo. But it IS a special condition that emerges from the mix of the bodily dimensions.

While three numbers may be sufficient to classify a body according to Sheldon’s schema, a fourth number or index indicating the degree of SENSOMORPHY is needed to get a full picture of the factors making up temperament. The Sensomorph index follows Sheldon in using a scale of 1 to 7, with “7” representing equality of all three systems. I place the index of SENSOMORPHY in parentheses after the usual three numbers that are given to locate a somatotype. The parentheses is a reminder that, although it is an important component of temperament, it is not an actual extreme, but is derived from the three main physical dimensions of a physique. A somatotype ordinarily given as a 4,4,4 would be written 4,4,4,(7) indicating the maximum state of balance. A 1,1,7 would become 1,1,7,(1) indicating the maximum distance from the center. Other somatotypes would be located between these extremes on the Sensomorphy scale. Simply stated it is an expression of the degree of balance between endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy.


I have suggested that Sheldon’s schema can be used to establish the order of dominance of the four organismic systems. This means that there are twenty-four possible ways of arranging the rank order of the four systems. This makes a very useable typology. Three factors would generate only six combinations. Our intuition would lead us to conclude that a sieve with such a large mesh would let too much wash away. Five factors would produce an unmanageable 120 combinations. Optimization isn’t the criteria for generating a typology, but it is gratifying when a typology is the size that a human mind can work with, without the assistance of a computer.

The process of deciphering the meaning of the twenty-four combinations is simplified if we remember that we are trying to take a holistic approach to understanding temperament. This means that the rank order of the systems sort themselves out into a behavioral hierarchy. The four systems are not blended or mixed like fluids. Each system represents a particular type of holistic behavior. Each system has the capacity to dominate the whole organism. Since an object (chunk) or organism can only go in one direction at any given moment, only one system can be operative at a given time. It is as if the organism is a complex and expensive scientific apparatus that must be shared by several different researchers. This may be why we often hear psychological talk about “there’s this part of me...”

The first system represents what the organism wants. The last system represents what the organism wants to avoid. The second system is how the organism gets what it wants. The third system is kind of neutral and may rarely emerge in a situation of leisure or it may be the last defense against what it doesn’t want. There is a body of research carried out by the Russian disciple of Pavlov, - P.K. Anokhim, that supports the time-sharing model of organismic behavior.

“Every holistic activity of the organism has a tendency
to be the only one present at a given time and to exclude
all other acts. The organism cannot combine simultaneously
two or three holistic activities.” Anokhin, P.K. (1965), In: Russian monographs on brain and behavior no. 3. Orienting reflex and exploratory behavior. Ed. American Institute of Biological Sciences, Washington.

The dominant system under a time-sharing arrangement determines what the organism wants. It gets the largest stretch of time. Once it has been determined what is “wanted”, the secondary system is available as the tool of choice to obtain what is “wanted”. It becomes the modus operandi. The last system is generally avoided, and if it has to be used its application will reveal an underdeveloped set of associated skills. The third ranked system is the system that includes those things you would like to get around to if you have time. In other words the third ranked system is most likely to emerge as a recreational pursuit. To sum it up, we can classify a person according to the following pattern:

1. What a person wants.

2. How a person gets what they want.

3. What a person may do if time is available.

4. What a person avoids.

Here are some examples of how the types would be abbreviated and organized.

V = Visceral System M = Muscular System
N = Nervous System S = Nervous System





Don’t expect to find the lengthy personality sketches that you may find in many personality systems. Instead I will present personality “themes” that summarize the core of a person’s behavior. Although it may be entertaining to read something like Kiersey’s or the Myers-Briggs, Jungian based typologies, these often become type-scopes that are used as prescriptions for behavior rather than description of behavior. As such they introduce the Barnum effect (also known as the Forrer effect). This is based on the great circus organizer, P.T. Barnum’s goal of including something for everyone to attract the largest possible audience. There have been experiments where people have been given personality tests and then “see” themselves in a personality sketch that isn’t based on any theory but is loaded with favorable comments. Instead, I envision a future, perhaps in the context of a forum at this website, where people can share their personal life stories derived from the insights obtained from knowing their body-type. Fleshing out the meaning of a person’s body-type would definitely be an area where a person may want the services of a knowledgeable therapist, counselor, or coach.


As we try to interpret the effect of each combination of the four systems, we want to stay as true as possible to the language of the body’s structure. This will naturally limit what we can say and this is why complex sketches of people aren’t practical at this point. Some day when there is data for a couple hundred of each combination it should be possible to achieve extraordinary insight about each permutation. That doesn’t mean that individuals can’t benefit immediately. The simple themes should be an adequate guide for self-discovery.

There are two things we need to understand about the systems. First of all we need to know the purpose of each system. In other words, we need to know the desired state a system wants. Let’s imagine we could converse with each system and ask - What state are you desiring? Initially, we’re looking for a single word that describes the desired state of each system. The words we are looking for would be classified as “abstract nouns” in contrast to “concrete nouns”. Once the main “word” is put in place, the description can always be embellished with synonyms and descriptive phrases for further clarification, but with the constraint of not going too far from the essential function of the system.

Here is a summary of these key “state” words:

1. “Visceral System, what is the one word that describes the state you are desiring?

Answer: UNITY

2. “Muscular System, what is the one word that describes the state you are desiring?


3. “Nervous System, what is the one word that describes the state you are desiring?


4. “Sensory System, what is the one word that describes the state you are desiring?

Answer: CHANGE

Second, we need to understand what each system does. It’s as if we could ask each system - What are you doing? This time we are looking for an action word - a verb.

Here is a summary of these key “action” words:

1. “Visceral System, in just one word what are you doing?”


2. “Muscular System, in just one word what are you doing?


3. “Nervous System, in just one word what are you doing?


4. “Sensory System, in just one word what are you doing?



The words used to describe the purpose and action of each system is based on the function of the system in the organism. There may be better words. The object here is to choose a single word that is “good enough” not necessarily perfect. Let’s examine these words to see if the choices are adequate.

The visceral system is a set of organs that contact the environment and absorb chemicals that can be incorporated into the organism. It is something like a marine sponge. A sponge is a good example of an animal that is basically just a gut undulating in the ocean current. It has a huge surface capable of absorbing nutrients floating in the water. Compare this to the small intestines. If you were to completely flatten the villi and folds of the small intestines you would have an absorbing surface slightly larger than a tennis court. How’s that for an absorbing surface? Aren’t you glad it’s folded up discretely in your abdominal area? The whole process of digestion is to contact nutrients in order to absorb and assimilate them. Assimilate means to make something part of a whole, that is, to form a UNITY. This is mostly a passive process that should not be confused with the aggressive muscular biting and chewing part of getting food inside. Once the food is masticated and passed into the gullet the process becomes a slow squeezing of the slurry through the digestive tract. Time takes over. You can’t force digestion. You have to wait. In fact, too much activity interferes with digestion. The main action of the digestive system is patient WAITING.

Muscles move. They contract and relax. Their purpose is to CONTROL the position of things. Muscles can shove, grasp, hold and position things whether it’s the animal itself or something in its environment. Muscles convert energy into motion. Moving an object is the basic definition of work. So if you could ask muscles what they are doing they would most likely say WORKING.

One celled animals have a membrane that serves as a boundary between what is inside and what is outside. The boundary is not allied to the world outside but is part and parcel of the organism. The membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm is formed by the cytoplasm. The membrane defines the organism/self. It protects the cell by keeping noxious chemicals outside and allowing essential chemicals entry into the cytoplasmic soup. Boundaries that are sensitive to harmful objects and chemicals have the best chance of survival. As Sheldon stated, the nervous system grows out of the ectoderm or outermost layer of the developing organism, so it isn’t a stretch to compare the nervous system to the functions of a cell membrane, only much more elaborate. The nervous systems purpose is to maintain IDENTITY. By storing previously successful reactions it can decide quickly which actions are safest. The brain and nervous system can chain these reactions into the future by an activity we can call PLANNING.

Sensory receptors respond to physical and chemical CHANGE in the environment. Change introduces something new that the organism has to evaluate. The organism doesn’t wait passively for change but is continuously SEARCHING for something that is different and may have impact on its plans.


Equipped with these few words we can approach the subject of the description of the various combinations. Since we have verbs and nouns we can combine them to arrive at a simple description. Using the preposition “FOR” to conduct the action we have the following possibilities. In each case the dominant system is on the left.

Visceral + Muscular = Working FOR Unity
Muscular + Visceral = Waiting FOR Control

Muscular + Nervous = Planning FOR Control
Nervous + Muscular = Working FOR Identity

Nervous + Visceral = Waiting FOR Identity
Visceral +Nervous = Planning FOR Unity

Nervous + Sensory = Searching FOR Identity
Sensory + Nervous = Planning FOR Change

Muscular + Sensory = Searching FOR Control
Sensory + Muscular = Working FOR Change

Visceral + Sensory = Searching FOR Unity
Sensory + Visceral = Waiting FOR Change

The remaining twelve combinations center on which system is rejected. There are two possibilities for each of the twelve listed above depending on which system ends up in the fourth position. For example:

Visceral Muscular Nervous SENSORY

Visceral Muscular Sensory NERVOUS

Interpretation is simply a matter of adding the word AVOIDS to the word that describes the desired state of the system.

Rejected Visceral = AVOIDS Unity

Rejected Muscular = AVOIDS Control

Rejected Nervous = AVOIDS Identity

Rejected Sensory = AVOIDS Change


Let’s take one of these types and see how we can enlarge the description.
The combination we will use for this example is:


There are more words that we can add to the description of each of these systems.

The Visceral System wants unity, peace, accommodation, and acceptance.

The Muscular System wants movement, control, freedom, immediate action

The Nervous System wants to plan, decide, calculate, measure,
rate, and caution.

The Sensory System wants to explore, search, novelty, change, and possibility.

This person has a strong need for acceptance which makes them diplomatic in dealing with others. They don’t talk much because they want to avoid the risk of displeasing people. They go about their life planning things so that there are no surprises and especially no conflicts. They don’t want to rock the boat, and therefore have a steadying influence on people around them. With Sensory in last place, they are conservative and conventional and can be disturbed when things change too fast.

We have now officially ventured into an area that becomes too interpretive. At least it is a brief paragraph. A lot more could be said. For instance descriptions could be attempted for the various stages of life, relationship to siblings, lovers, friends, enemies, schoolmates, workmates, the handling of life crises, sickness and finally, the broad area of the working world and career choice. Such exhaustive sketches quickly become oversized scoops that are just as likely to gather superfluous garbage as they are valuable insights. In addition long descriptions become cumbersome to manage. It is better that a person keep their own private journal based on what they have found out about their body-type so they can discover how their various body systems have shaped their lives.

MOTM Dec 2011
8,651 Posts
So related to MBTI, it might be....

VISCERAL = endomorph = UNITY, WAITING - Feeling?
NERVOUS = ectomorph = IDENTITY, PLANNING - Judging?
MUSCULAR = mesomorph = CONTROL, WORKING - Thinking?
SENSOR = ? = CHANGE, SEARCHING - Perceiving?

What body type is associated with sensor? I must have missed it or it does not clearly say.

And then there is this part, which describes each but fails to describe muscular in the same way....

The Visceral System wants unity, peace, accommodation, and acceptance.

The Nervous System wants to plan, decide, calculate, measure,
rate, and caution.

The Sensory System wants to explore, search, novelty, change, and possibility.

113 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for pointing out missing info


Thanks for pointing out my omission. I did forget to elaborate on muscular dominance and have now corrected that.

Sensomorphy = middle of triangle. This is explained in the section "Four from three."

MBTI doesn't map perfectly onto somatotypes. Because MBTI deals with dichotomies some of the functions are mixed with others.

Generally, Feeling is at the endomorphy corner of triangle. Thinking is in the ectomorphy corner. Sensation is in the Mesomorphy corner. Intuition is the center of the triangle. But perception is also in the center. Judging is anything away from the center and on the periphery. Extraversion is the sum of Sensation and Intuition. Introversion is the sum of the two judging functions of thinking and feeling.

The personality inventory that seems to match up the best with body type is the D-I-S-C

D=Mesomorphy I=Balance (or center) S= Endomorphy C= Ectomorphy

MOTM Aug 2010
1,412 Posts
Interesting post. I did a post a while back with a somatotype test and a brief bit on William Sheldon's constitutional psychology theory in this thread, but both the test and Sheldon's theory were oversimplified. This looks much more comprehensive.

I'd say I'm a mix of Ecto- and Mesomorph (145, maybe?), and Working FOR Identity sounds a lot like me.

113 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

I noticed in the similar threads section that you posted information on body types. While useful in getting people thinking about somatotype the questionnaire is seldom accurate. Sheldon's method allows close to 1800 possibilities. It would be hard for a pencil and paper test to produce those kinds of results based on 3 variables. You say you think your are a 1,4,5 Typically a 1,4,5 would be about 69.6 inches tall and weigh 126 at age 20, 130 at age 30, 133 at age 40 and 133 at age 50. From a body builders perspective a 1,4,5 would be a classic "hard-gainer".

This is not a popular psychological concept. We have all been conditioned to think that personality inventories give us accurate information on our personality. But they don't hold up very well when examined for validity or reliability. For example: (Essentials of MBTI by Naomi L. Quenk

"With a 4-week interval between administrations, using the most general sample available (N=258), 66% reported all four letters the same and 91% were the same on three out of four preferences.​

So this means that when we say we are an ESTP there is a 1 in 3 chance that we could really be an ISTP, ENTP,ESFP or ESTJ.

Similar problems exist for all the popular tests. That's why we need a biological explanation as a basis for understanding personality.

MOTM Aug 2010
1,412 Posts

I noticed in the similar threads section that you posted information on body types. While useful in getting people thinking about somatotype the questionnaire is seldom accurate. Sheldon's method allows close to 1800 possibilities. It would be hard for a pencil and paper test to produce those kinds of results based on 3 variables. You say you think your are a 1,4,5 Typically a 1,4,5 would be about 69.6 inches tall and weigh 126 at age 20, 130 at age 30, 133 at age 40 and 133 at age 50. From a body builders perspective a 1,4,5 would be a classic "hard-gainer".

This is not a popular psychological concept. We have all been conditioned to think that personality inventories give us accurate information on our personality. But they don't hold up very well when examined for validity or reliability. For example: (Essentials of MBTI by Naomi L. Quenk
"With a 4-week interval between administrations, using the most general sample available (N=258), 66% reported all four letters the same and 91% were the same on three out of four preferences.​
So this means that when we say we are an ESTP there is a 1 in 3 chance that we could really be an ISTP, ENTP,ESFP or ESTJ.

Similar problems exist for all the popular tests. That's why we need a biological explanation as a basis for understanding personality.
Yeah, you're right about the test and theory I had posted; I didn't really like those either but I figured I'd post it to generate some discussion.

Your description of 1,4,5 actually sounds a lot thinner than what I am, so my assessment probably wasn't so accurate. If it helps, my height is 64 inches, my usual body weight ranges between 130-140 (if I'm training consistently and eating enough I'm usually at the higher end of that range, but in an untrained/stressed state I can easily go down to the lower end), my bi-acromial width is 14.5 inches, and my bi-iliac width is 11 inches (I'm only 25 years old, so I don't know my weights at 30+, but 130-140 has been my usual weight range from age 20 on).

113 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)

Based on the information you gave you probably are a 5,3,1.5,4.5

5 Endomorphy 3 Mesomorphy 1.5 Ectomorphy and 4.5 Sensomorphy (balance)

The order of your systems would be 1. Visceral 2. Sensory 3. Muscular 4. Nervous

Simple interpretation: Searching (Sensory) for Unity (Visceral) Avoids isolation and conflict. This is a very helpful person in a social or group context.

If you are familiar with the D-I-S-C system this type would be described as the "AGENT" profile.

I could be wrong because I don't have a somatotype photograph but this should be rather close.

The weight picture for this type 134 at age 20 148 at age 30 162 at age 40 168 at age 50

With 5 in Endomorphy you can add weight quickly. 140 would be a good maximum weight. Never let yourself get above 140 unless you are doing some serious weight lifting.

113 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)

I could be way off on my guess about your somatotype. I tried to figure it based on the measurements you gave me. And I was basing that on an imagined average physique. However depending on where your anatomical waist is located you could could also be in the area of a 2.5, 5.5,1.5 That's where a photograph becomes useful. (Actually your ISTP would be a good match for the more muscular somatotype) I would need a photograph that is posed like the picture below and adjusted so that there are no identifiable features other than the outline. You can use photo editing software ie. Microsoft Photo Editor, (shareware)

Those strips (band-aids) are placed so they mark the bottom of the rib cage and the top of the illiac crest (pelvis) The rib marker strip is placed so that the top edge of the strip marks the bottom of the rib cage. The pelvis marker strip is placed so that the bottom edge of the strip marks the illiac crest.

If you are serious about your body type send me a photo like that.
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