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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
David Keirsey's famous for his view that splitting Myers' 16 types into NFs, NTs, SJs and SPs creates four groups that each has characteristics in common (and differs from the other three groups) to an extent that significantly exceeds the other possible two-letter groupings.

As further discussed in this post, Keirsey really started out as (and largely remained, at least through PUM II) an MBTI guy, but liked to frame his famous foursome as if it also carried on a grand, historical four-type tradition. But the purported match-ups he pointed to between his MBTI-based types and various older foursomes were often pretty strained.

I've long thought that the right way to read Keirsey is as a guy who had a lot of good insights into the MBTI types (and a talent for bringing them to life on the page) — including interesting (although not always correct) things to say about his favored two-letter combinations — but without buying into his view that there was something truly fundamental about the NF/NT/SJ/SP carve-up.

Isabel Myers was a big believer that there were lots of noteworthy aspects of personality associated with combinations of preferences, and the 1985 MBTI Manual (which she co-authored) included brief descriptions of every possible two-letter combination. But NF/NT/ST/SF was Myers' favored foursome, and I can't resist noting that it's a carve-up of the types that totally ignores the so-called "cognitive functions." (Each of Myers' four groups consists of types with four different dominant functions.)

Myers explained why she thought NF/NT/ST/SF was the most meaningful way to group the types in Gifts Differing. She said:

Myers said:
Each of these combinations produces a different kind of personality, characterized by the interests, values, needs, habits of mind, and surface traits that naturally result from the combination. Combinations with a common preference will share some qualities, but each combination has qualities all its own, arising from the interaction of the preferred way of looking at life and the preferred way of judging what is seen.

Whatever a person's particular combination of [S/N and T/F] preferences may be, others with the same combination are apt to be the easiest to understand and like. They will tend to have similar interests, since they share the same kind of perception, and to consider the same things important, since they share the same kind of judgment.
Keirsey didn't think much of Myers' S groups. In explaining how he got from Myers to NF/NT/SJ/SP, he said:

Keirsey said:
I soon found it convenient and useful to partition Myers's sixteen types into four groups, which she herself suggested in saying that all of what she referred to as the "NFs" were alike in many ways and that all four of the "NTs" were alike in many ways — although what she called the "STs" seemed to me to have very little in common, just as the "SFs" had little in common.
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Which brings me to a little study that I haz just performed...

The official MBTI folks put out Career Reports that show the popularity for each type of "22 broad occupational categories," based on "a sample of more than 92,000 people in 282 jobs who said they were satisfied with their jobs." That's a large freaking sample by personality typology standards, and it included 5,830 ISFJs, 11,410 ISTJs, 3,230 ISFPs, 5,114 ESTPs, 4,321 ESFPs and 12,019 ESTJs.

To give you an indication of the nature of the stats, here are the "Most Attractive Job Families" (job satisfaction scores of 60-100) for the ESFPs:

ESFPs
Health Care Support [100]
—Nurse's aide, veterinary assistant, pharmacy aide, physical therapy aide
Food Preparation and Service [99]
—Chef, food service manager, bartender, host/hostess
Personal Care and Service [91]
—Lodging manager, personal trainer, hairdresser, child care provider
Office and Administrative Support [70]
—Bank teller, receptionist, clerical services, legal secretary
Sales and Advertising [62]
—Sales manager, real estate agent, insurance agent, salesperson
Building and Grounds Maintenance [60]
—Gardener, tree trimmer, housekeeping, lawn service supervisor

And again, there are 22 categories in all.

I don't have a full set of those Career Report stats, but I have them for the six S types previously mentioned, and it occurred to me to wonder whether the occupational preferences of SJs tend to be more alike than the occupational preferences of STs (as Keirsey's perspective would arguably lead you to believe) or vice versa (more in line with Myers' perspective).

So I decided to calculate what you might call the total distance between the job choices of those six S types by totaling the 22 differences in job satisfaction ratings. And here are the results:

ISFJ vs. ISTJ (both SJs): 737
ISFJ vs. ISFP (both SFs): 337

ESTP vs. ESFP (both SPs): 659
ESTP vs. ESTJ (both STs): 375

In both cases the results favor Myers' perspective — that ST/SF is a more meaningful way to group the S's than SJ/SP — and by a very wide margin.

And noooooooooooo, I'm not saying this disproves the fundamentality of Keirsey's temperaments by any means, but I am saying I consider those results some serious food for thought. Career choices are a big part of a person's life — not to mention an aspect of life that Myers and Keirsey both thought (consistent with decades of data) tends to be substantially influenced by your type — and 92,000 is a huge sample, and those ST/SF-vs.-SJ/SP results are dramatically lopsided.

My perspective continues to be that it's probably a mistake to put too much emphasis on any particular grouping of the 16 types, including Myers'. As reflected in the MBTI Manual, I assume there are probably noteworthy and insightful things to be said about each of the possible two-letter combinations.

And in that regard, and as a final note, I can't resist mentioning that, although I agree that I have some significant things in common with my fellow NTs, I've increasingly come around to the view that, if I had to pick a group of four MBTI types to really be my "kindred spirits" group, it would be the INs rather than the NTs. And anybody's who's interested can read more about that in the spoiler.

 
Here are membership stats for PerC and Typology Central:

June 2013 membership stats for PersonalityCafe:

INFP 3723 — 21%
INFJ 2580 — 15%
INTP 2228 — 13%
INTJ 1876 — 11%
ENFP 1352 — 8%
ENTP 1112 — 6%
ENFJ 514 — 3%
ISTP 527 — 3%
ISFP 506 — 3%
ISTJ 437 — 2%
ENTJ 401 — 2%
ISFJ 314 — 2%
ESTP 159 — 1%
ESFJ 102 — 1%
ESFP 117 — 1%
ESTJ 97 — 1%

August 2012 membership stats for TypologyCentral:

INTP 17%
INFP 17%
INFJ 16%
INTJ 12%
ENFP 10%
ENTP 8%
ISTP 4%
ENFJ 3%
ENTJ 3%
ISFP 3%
ISTJ 2%
ISFJ 1%
ESTP 1%
ESFP 1%
ESTJ 1%
ESFJ 1%

And as if those IN vs. ES differences weren't already huge enough in absolute terms, they'd actually be twice as dramatic if you took account of the fact that there are something like two S's for every N in the general population (according to the official MBTI folks) and translated the stats into self selection ratios (i.e., the odds that any particular person of that type would be a member of one of those forums) on that basis.

And here someone may object: But, reckful, come on. Everybody knows that INs are the folks who freaking live on the internet, so the fact that there are a lot more of them on any particular website may not say as much as you might otherwise think about their greater affinity for the theme of that website. And to that I'd respond: I don't necessarily disagree with that, but the fact that INs are the folks most inclined to live on the internet — to the extent that you're right about that — is another piece of strong evidence in favor of viewing the INs as a significant type group.

I'd say the INs are the types best characterized as "born students." They're the types most likely to be found learning something for the sheer joy of learning, and the types most likely to begin their response to "What do you hope to accomplish in your life?" by saying (to quote an INTJ woman at PerC), "I want to learn as much as I can."

The MBTI Manual calls INs the "thoughtful innovators" and says they "are introspective and scholarly. They are interested in knowledge for its own sake, as well as ideas, theory, and depth of understanding. They are the least practical of the types." In Type Talk, Kroeger & Thuesen note that INs "would rather speculate as to why Rome is burning than actually fight the fire. They are speculative, reflective, introspective, conceptual, and highly abstract in orientation."

I'd say INs are the nerds. INs are the folks who tend to be the most serious about the world of literature and philosophy and the arts, and to take one or more divisions of pop culture seriously. You might say the INs' church is the library. As already noted, the INs are the folks most likely to more or less live on the internet, and to fail to see much of a significant distinction between the internet and so-called "real life." I think INs tend to be the most independent thinkers, and the most likely to define themselves strongly on the basis of their independent perspectives — not "special snowflake" unique, necessarily, but independently arrived at, and often more minority/subcultural than culturally mainstream.

Jung was an IN, Briggs and Myers were both INs, and Keirsey was an IN. And it sounds to me like most of the predecessor typologists whose theories Jung reviewed in Psychological Types were fellow INs who I suspect were also, like Jung, partly moved to formulate their "different types" theories by the fact that — like a sizeable percentage of the INs in (I assume) most eras — they felt significantly alienated from the majority of their fellow men.

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As a final, more wonkish, note on the INs...

As I'm always pointing out, Jung spent more of Psychological Types talking about the things he thought extraverts had in common and introverts had in common than he spent talking about all eight of the functions put together. I'm not really a Beebe fan, but he certainly characterized Jung's perspective accurately when he said:

Beebe said:
For Jung the attitude type was the primary thing, and the function type a kind of subsomething that expressed that attitude in a particular way. Accordingly, he organized his general description of the types in terms of the attitudes, describing first "the peculiarities of the basic psychological functions in the extraverted attitude" and then going on to "the peculiarities of the basic psychological functions in the introverted attitude."
In the Foreword to a 1934 edition of Psychological Types, Jung bemoaned the fact that too many people were inclined to view Chapter X as the essence of the book, and explained that he'd put the eight specific "function-type" descriptions at the end of the book for a reason. He said, "I would therefore recommend the reader who really wants to understand my book to immerse himself first of all in chapters II and V." And Chapters II and V are pretty much all about extraversion vs. introversion, with Chapter V devoted to a long analysis of Spitteler's Prometheus and Epimetheus — which Jung calls "a poetic work based almost entirely on the type problem," explaining that the conflict at the heart of it "is essentially a struggle between the introverted and extraverted lines of development in one and the same individual, though the poet has embodied it in two independent figures and their typical destinies."

And the central focus on extraversion/introversion, and the things Jung thought all extraverts and all introverts tend to have in common, runs through every chapter of Psychological Types other than Chapter X — the only part of the book with any substantial description of the eight functions. As Jung saw it, the dynamics of the human psyche revolved first and foremost around a single great divide, and that divide involved two all-important components — namely, introversion/extraversion and conscious/unconscious.

And here's the thing (for purposes of the present discussion): Jung assigned what's arguably the lion's share of the modern conception of S/N (the concrete/abstract duality) to E/I, with the result that, when Jung looked out at the world and spotted what he thought was a definite "introvert," he was almost assuredly looking at someone who'd be typed IN under the MBTI.

So I think it's fair to say that Jung himself viewed the INs (who he called the "introverts") and ESs (who he called the "extraverts") as the two most significant MBTI subgroups — even though he didn't frame them in those terms.
 

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Thanks for the information, @reckful. It's so interesting that I'm surprised no one's responded, and I don't have time other than to say Keirsey's temperaments seem to work better with regard to typing people if they're separated from MBTI and other 4-temperament systems. His book "Personology" seems to be his final attempt to separate his ideas from MBTI. I do have a somewhat easier time distinguishing between SJ and SP than SF and ST when typing in real life.

Judith Grutter's webinars, found under CPP, Inc. on YouTube, cover the ST, SF, NF, NT method of typing.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cpp+inc+judith+grutter
 

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That is all fascinating-- I was always convinced by Keirseys descriptions, but your study was pretty convincing too. Definitely food for thought. And I agree that there are probably several equally valid ways they can be divided up.
Also I really agree with you on the fact that INs are a really important group. They are definitely my kindred spirits. ENFs can be kind of fake and more dogmatic than critical. While INs, even INFPs seem in general more critcal and analytical. Maybe having a dominant Fe or Ne just necessitates that you build off the will of others, while Fi or Ni automatically makes you more questioning, because you're thinking independently. Wow thank you that is really interesting.
 

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Thought it would be interesting, following on from this, to start a thread about which pair of preferences people on the forum felt were their "kindred spirits" - so that thread has been started.

I'd be interested, in general, if it transpired that one particular set of preferences held greater meaning or value than others; it seems to me that it is going to be vary between individuals, that one ABCD finds BCs to be most alike to him, whilst another ABCD finds ADs are more like her. In that regard, it's interesting to observe that - from the data presented - ST/SF is a better job predictor than SJ/SP; I wonder whether ST/SF proves a better predictor in other ways or whether it's simply more useful in predicting occupational trends...
 

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I think it depends on what you are trying to say and what you want to achieve by grouping them. For example, IN, according to you, are nerds, introspective, scholarly people who enjoy learning for the sake of learning. Then NFs are said to be the idealists and empathetic, people focus, etc.

I imagine an INFP would feel related to all the Is, the Ns, the Fs, and the Ps in various degree with different reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think it depends on what you are trying to say and what you want to achieve by grouping them. For example, IN, according to you, are nerds, introspective, scholarly people who enjoy learning for the sake of learning. Then NFs are said to be the idealists and empathetic, people focus, etc.

I imagine an INFP would feel related to all the Is, the Ns, the Fs, and the Ps in various degree with different reasons.
I agree — which is why, as I said, I think "it's probably a mistake to put too much emphasis on any particular grouping of the 16 types," and "I assume there are probably noteworthy and insightful things to be said about each of the possible two-letter combinations."
 

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The weird thing about Keirsey temperaments is, why is it not SJ/SP/NJ/NP or ST/SF/NT/NF.
Maybe because intuition is timeless, and S has a stronger sense of time, with Se being about the now and Si being past-focus?
 
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The weird thing about Keirsey temperaments is, why is it not SJ/SP/NJ/NP or ST/SF/NT/NF.
Maybe because intuition is timeless, and S has a stronger sense of time, with Se being about the now and Si being past-focus?
From a similar topic:

First, you have to take a step back from a functional analysis and go back to the dichotomy approach. Keirsey based his work on Myers'. Upon looking at the existing function pair groups of SF, ST, NF, and NT, he felt that SJs and SPs were more alike in those respective pairings than SFs and STs.

He compared to other four-type models:

PlatoArtisanGuardianIdealistRational
AristotleHedonicProprietaryEthicalDialectical
GalenSanguineMelancholicCholericPhlegmatic
ParacelsusChangeableIndustriousInspiredCurious
AdickesInnovativeTraditionalDoctrinaireSkeptical
SprangerAestheticEconomicReligiousTheoretic
KretschmerHypomanicDepressiveHyperestheticAnesthetic
FrommExploitativeHoardingReceptiveMarketing
MyersProbingSchedulingFriendlyTough-minded
KeirseySPSJNFNT

And decided that SPs fit in with the other types of the same column, just as SJs fit theirs, and so on.

EDIT: He came up with these groupings by comparing the types as a whole rather than just grouping by common perceiving functions.

Interestingly, the MBTI manual makes mention of all kinds of letter combinations, including Keirsey's. Other than function pairs, they also look at EPs, EJs, IPs, IJs; SPs, SJs, NPs, NJs; TPs, TJs, FPs, FJs; ENs, ESs, INs, ISs; & ETs, EFs, ITs, IFs.
 

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The weird thing about Keirsey temperaments is, why is it not SJ/SP/NJ/NP or ST/SF/NT/NF.
Maybe because intuition is timeless, and S has a stronger sense of time, with Se being about the now and Si being past-focus?
I wonder the same... and I like your possible explanation. If we think about cognitive functions, maybe SJ/SP/NJ/NP seems more logical. I think that P/J is related to the fluidity/structure of N or S; Si-Ni (J) are more "definite" and Se-Ne (P) are more flexible. I promise it makes sense in my head :tongue:
 

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I wanted to post the descriptions given by Myers of the ST, SF, NT and NF types, and I was going to start a new thread for them but decided it would make more sense to put them here. She says far less about her groups than Keirsey says about his, but I thought these short descriptions might still be of interest.

Sensing Plus Thinking

The ST (sensing plus thinking) people rely primarily on sensing for purposes of perception and on thinking for purposes of judgment. Thus, their main interest focuses upon facts, because facts can be collected and verified directly by the senses—by seeing, hearing, touching, counting, weighing, measuring. ST people approach their decisions regarding these facts by impersonal analysis, because of their trust in thinking, with its step-by-step logical process of reasoning from cause to effect, from premise to conclusion.
In consequence, their personalities tend to be practical and matter-of-fact, and their best chances of success and satisfaction lie in fields that demand impersonal analysis of concrete facts, such as economics, law, surgery, business, accounting, production, and the handling of machines and materials.

Sensing Plus Feeling

The SF (sensing plus feeling) people, too, rely primarily on sensing for purposes of perception, but they prefer feeling for purposes of judgment. They approach their decisions with personal warmth because their feeling weighs how much things matter to themselves and others.
They are more interested in facts about people than in facts about things and, therefore, they tend to be sociable and friendly. They are most likely to succeed and be satisfied in work where their personal warmth can be applied effectively to the immediate situation, as in pediatrics, nursing, teaching (especially elementary), social work, selling of tangibles, and service-with-a-smile jobs.

Intuition Plus Feeling

The NF (intuition plus feeling) people possess the same personal warmth as SF people because of their shared use of feeling for purposes of judgment, but because the NFs prefer intuition to sensing, they do not center their attention upon the concrete situation. Instead they focus on possibilities, such as new projects (things that haven’t ever happened but might be made to happen) or new truths (things that are not yet known but might be found out). The new project or the new truth is imagined by the unconscious processes and then intuitively perceived as an idea that feels like an inspiration.
The personal warmth and commitment with which the NF people seek and follow up a possibility are impressive. They are both enthusiastic and insightful. Often they have a marked gift of language and can communicate both the possibility they see and the value they attach to it. They are most likely to find success and satisfaction in work that calls for creativity to meet a human need. They may excel in teaching (particularly college and high school), preaching, advertising, selling of intangibles, counseling,, clinical psychology, psychiatry, writing, and most fields of research.

Intuition Plus Thinking

The NT (intuition plus thinking) people also use intuition but team it with thinking. Although they focus on a possibility, they approach it with impersonal analysis. Often they choose a theoretical or executive possibility and subordinate the human element.
NTs tend to be logical and ingenious and are most successful in solving problems in a field of special interest, whether scientific research, electronic computing, mathematics, the more complex aspects of finance, or any sort of development or pioneering in technical areas.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wanted to post the descriptions given by Myers of the ST, SF, NT and NF types...
Thanks for posting those.

Here's a source — h/t @Gnarthontuel — with more descriptive stuff about those foursomes, and about each of the other two-letter combinations.

(They're all on that same linked page. Just keep scrolling.)

It borrows fairly heavily from the 1998 Manual descriptions, and if you look at the references list at the end, it notes that they've also included stuff from Keirsey, and from a couple other official sources.
 

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I wish for more sources like that. Some detailed standardized indicators for a types. Not a mess like there is right now (and probably will be forever).
For example i have read that source and soon after new video from one of "MBTI" youtube channel popped up.
They said " X is an INTJ, so she is observer first, so she states her observations but almost never form any opinions".
Than we got this and IJ " The reason that those with the MBTI IJ attitude can appear inflexible and resistant to change has to do with their extraverted auxiliary judging function preference (either Thinking or Feeling). This preference leads the Decisive Introvert to state their conclusions, rather than providing the data for their judgment, which can come off as extra adamant."
This is exact opposite to me. About the same thing...
 
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I wish for more sources like that. Some detailed standardized indicators for a types. Not a mess like there is right now (and probably will be forever).
For example i have read that source and soon after new video from one of "MBTI" youtube channel popped up.
They said " X is an INTJ, so she is observer first, so she states her observations but almost never form any opinions".
Than we got this and IJ " The reason that those with the MBTI IJ attitude can appear inflexible and resistant to change has to do with their extraverted auxiliary judging function preference (either Thinking or Feeling). This preference leads the Decisive Introvert to state their conclusions, rather than providing the data for their judgment, which can come off as extra adamant."
This is exact opposite to me. About the same thing...
I really like that this topic references actual empirical data about the types to make the argument that SJ/SP is an inferior division to ST/SF. The problem with so much writing about the Grant stack theory is that it takes the theory (which is just one interpretation of Jung) to be correct presumptively, even though there is no actual data backing this up. The result of this is reams of idle speculation proceeding from the assumption that "INTJ = Ni-Te-Fi-Se" with only an article of faith in one person's hypothesis to make it all hang together.

Why someone would want a theory of human personality that lacks evidence to support its truth-value when there are others that are better supported is something that makes little sense to me.
 

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I wish for more sources like that. Some detailed standardized indicators for a types. Not a mess like there is right now (and probably will be forever).
For example i have read that source and soon after new video from one of "MBTI" youtube channel popped up.
They said " X is an INTJ, so she is observer first, so she states her observations but almost never form any opinions".
Than we got this and IJ " The reason that those with the MBTI IJ attitude can appear inflexible and resistant to change has to do with their extraverted auxiliary judging function preference (either Thinking or Feeling). This preference leads the Decisive Introvert to state their conclusions, rather than providing the data for their judgment, which can come off as extra adamant."
This is exact opposite to me. About the same thing...
That’s function confusion for you. The official MBTI view is that an INTJ would show judging characteristics because their highest extraverted function, aux Te, is judging, so it’s their judging side they show to the world. But there’s a theory floating around the internet that an INTJ is more of a perceiver, in at least some ways, because their dominant function, Ni, is a perceiving function. People justify opposite conclusions from ostensibly the same theory.
 

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Another thought occurs to me. I’m not sure if this is even a meaningful question, but how, if at all, do the careers chosen by STs and SFs compare with Keirsey’s intelligence types for SJs and SPs? Keirsey would expect SJs to choose logistical careers and SPs to choose tactical careers, but if ST/SF is a more meaningful division for career choice, how does the choice between logistics and tactics tie in to that?
 

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@contradictionary a'ight!

My two/three cents: So Keirseys typology is built on the four parameters: (i) How we see the world, and (ii) how we chose to act in the world.

Keirsey argues (Please Understand Me II) that people see the world in two fundamentally different ways: abstract and concrete. Abstract he denotes as iNtuition and concrete he denotes as Sensation. Keirsey argues further that people act in the world in two fundamentally different ways: utilitarian and cooperative way. He argues that both SP and NT are utilitarian, and NF and SJ are cooperative. Hence, the split becomes:

- abstract + cooperative: NF
- abstract + utilitarian: NT
- concrete + cooperative: SJ
- concrete + utilitarian: SP

Also leading to the fact that NT and SJ are opposites, and NF and SP are opposites.

My take on Keirsey: Just like with the MBTI, I think Keirsey can be highly useful if used in the right situation as a tool to help understand people and for communication. Used in the wrong way, it will be horribly wrong and degenerate us as people. I have said it before and I'll say it again: I do not like dividing people into S and N, in my world every child is born as an iNtuitive but made blind ("S") of the massive brainwashing, propaganda and power games that are constantly at play in the world today. Also, we eat the completely wrong food filled with saturated fats and heavy metals, further calcifying our pineal gland (the key to the "third eye" or intuition). Hence, to be iNtuitive today in the west, it requires you to significantly go against the flow of society since the society wants to keep us all Sensors, i.e., never asking the big questions / digging deeper / threatening the hierarchy.

It's very important to note that although Keirsey claims so, his theory is not consistent with the four temperaments or the four humors. The four temperaments (Hippocrates, Galen, Ibn Sina, Ibn Arabi, Immanuel Kant, Rudolf Steiner, Alexander Whyte, etc.) is a biotype, an ancient medicinal divide of people into four biological types: The dry/hot short and powerful Choleric, the dry/wet tall and athletic Sanguine, the cold/wet weighty Phlegmatic and the cold/dry tall and bony Melancholic. So in the four temperament world (greco-arabic medicine), each temperament has specific sleeping habits, typical dreams, common diseases, digestion, skin quality and color, etc.
 
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