History of the Four Interaction Styles
Throughout the ages, observers of human behavior have repeatedly identified patterns or configurations of behavior. Such holistic sorting of behavior patterns has been recorded for at least twenty-five centuries. Ancient philosophers described four dispositions called temperaments—a choleric, a phlegmatic, a melancholic, and a sanguine temperament. Interpretations of these patterns have varied over the years, with two distinct interpretations: one is David Keirsey’s temperament theory and the other relates to the Interaction Styles model.
Most twentieth-century psychologists abandoned holistic observation of human behavior for a microscopic examination of parts, fragments, traits, and so on. To them, all human beings were basically alike—and individual differences were due to chance or conditioning—yet many of them ultimately described patterns that resemble our holistic view.