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David Keirsey

Fine-tuner of the four temperaments

David Keirsey Ph.D., born on August 31, 1921, was a renowned clinical psychologist, author and professor at California State University, Fullerton. He specialized in family counseling and conflict management and developed the Keirsey Temperament Sorter which identifies 16 personality types.

Keirsey’s most notable contribution was his combining of Kretschmer’s model of four temperament types with Isabel Briggs Myers‘ Jungian model of eight function types. He noted that the four types with N & F preferences share similarities, that the four types with S & P can be grouped and so on. The result was a more useful set of temperaments in which each of the 16 personality types fit into.

Note that on Personality Max we give the temperaments different “nicknames” than Keirsey.

Temperament Preference Combo Primary Objective Keirsey’s Name Our Nickname
SJ Sensing + Judging “Security Seeking” Guardians Protectors
SP Sensing + Perceiving “Sensation Seeking” Artisans Creators
NT Intuition + Thinking “Knowledge Seeking” Rationals Intellectuals
NF Intuition + Feeling “Identity Seeking” Idealists Visionaries

Keirsey has authored several excellent books. We highly recommend Please Understand Me and Please Understand Me II. See David Keirsey’s Books at

Learn more about Temperaments or read another biography by clicking below.

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