Keirsey Temperament Sorter

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The Keirsey Temperament Sorter is an adaptation of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality categorization model created by Jungian psychologist David Keirsey (1921-2013), and featured in his book Please understand me. While maintaining the basic four-factor model of the MBTI, Keirsey was highly influenced by the Nietzschean Apollonian and Dionysian model and its roots in Greek mythology. Keirsey's work is an attempt to create a more scientifically rigorous, empirically verifiable version of the MBTI.


The Keirsey sorter relies on a questionnaire almost identical to that used in the MBTI. The primary distinction between the two models is that while the MBTI focuses on thoughts, the Keirsey temperament sorter is focused on behavior. Keirsey was heavily involved in conflict management studies, which may have affected this focus.

The Keirsey sorter defines 16 temperaments, two for each of eight different cognitive functions. Because the Keirsey sorter focuses on actions rather than thoughts, it can at least be tested to some extent, but it is still very much the pet project of Keirsey and his co-authors.


Keirsey was accused of sympathizing with the anti-psychology movement, despite having been a professor emeritus of California State University, Fullerton, and a family counseling specialist. Keirsey was a vocal opponent of the practice of prescribing stimulants for children with ADHD, claiming that the diagnosis results from the inability of adults to cope with children with certain personality types.[1] In his favor, Keirsey's opposition was largely based on what he saw as excessively broad diagnostic criteria coupled with an over-reliance on prescription medication for issues that have a questionable medical basis and can be solved with counseling and/or relatively minor changes in the classroom.[2] He was in no way a supporter of vaccine denialism.