K is for Keirsey

Do you have any idea what your personality type is? No, we are not talking about your introduction. In the four planes of personality, on which ones do you reside? Oh, you have no idea what this is? Step right up. Let’s have a little fun.

Keirsey, David (31AUG21- )

World War II veteran David Keirsey took a psychology book with him from post to post. After the war, he went to Pomona College and Claremont Graduate University to study anthropology, sociology, psychology, ethology and biology. The scientific cocktail fueled his investigation into the four personality types he traced back to observations of Aristotle, Hippocrates and Plato.

Please Understand Me II Keirsey 1998

PUM II 1998 cover compliments of TanagerReads via Amazon

Working as an educational psychologist in correction facilities for youth, Keirsey refined his behavior observation techniques. Over the course of the 1950s and ’60s, he developed a theory which he published in the book Please Understand Me, in 1978. Keirsey defines 16 personality types within four classes.

In 1998, Keirsey published Please Understand Me II. It tackles the social psychology of personality types’ effects on mating, parenting, intelligence and leading.

Although based on similar ideals as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator™, the Keirsey Temperament Sorter™ translates into many different personality applications beyond occupational identity, to include love patterns, educational styles, organizational dynamics and more. It has been taken by more than 40 million people over the last 40 plus years, and its results have been used in non-profit, government, corporate and education settings worldwide.


Keirsey states the personality types are not merely collections of traits, but rather are products of the interaction between our words and deeds based on our observable behavior…in short, what we do and what we say. Each kind of personality has different strengths and weaknesses. Each contributes differently to occupations and society, while satisfying different personal needs.

Actions are broken into Utilitarian and Cooperative. Communication is split into Concrete and Abstract. The four kinds of personalities are based on the combinations of the two:

Keirsey Please Understand Me Original Cover

Original Cover compliments of Sterling Service via Amazon


The Concrete Cooperators speak about their jobs, duties and responsibilities. They are careful planners who oversee and tend processes until results are complete. Guardians follow rules, obey laws and respect others’ rights.


The Concrete Utilitarians talk about the here and now, what they can see and touch in the moment. They do whatever it takes to get the quickest satisfaction, even when it means bending or breaking the rules.


The Abstract Cooperators speak of what is possible and their hopes. In keeping with their consciences, they attempt to meet goals without compromising their codes of ethics.


The Abstract Utilitarians talk of the solutions they envision to the problem of interest at the moment. They act efficiently to satisfy goals and are pragmatic about ignoring capricious rules in the pursuit.

Whilst everyone can identify in themselves one or more of the traits of all four personalities, one will surface as the most fitting during the Keirsey Temperament Sorter™ because subjects answer the questions as they see fit, rather than how they envision others seeing them.


The 16 kidneys can be grouped by fours, with one group under each class of personality.

  1. Guardians
    1. Supervisor
    2. Inspector
    3. Provider
    4. Protector
  2. Artisans
    1. Crafter
    2. Promoter
    3. Performer
    4. Composer
  3. Rationals
    1. Architect
    2. Inventor
    3. Field Marshall
    4. Mastermind
  4. Idealists
    1. Healer
    2. Teacher
    3. Counselor
    4. Champion

Each of the 16 kidneys are based on four defining principles and represents a singular combination.

  1. Introvert vs. Extrovert
  2. Thinking vs. Feeling
  3. Sensing vs. Intuitive
  4. Judging vs. Providing

No one readily chooses one over the other after the first choice of introvert or extrovert. Most people feel they are a combination of the two choices. While that is true, one personality trait will prevail over the others through the Keirsey analysis.


Why would you want to know what your temperament is? You could…

  • Find compatible friends and significant others for longer-lasting relationships.
  • Understand workplace dynamics to avoid office politics.
  • Create team synergy.
  • Identify habitual behavior to affect change.
  • Lead or follow to effectively expedite results.
  • Release tension by identifying wrong fits in relationships and occupations.
  • Stop sabotaging your own success.
  • Identify learning style.
  • Realize the logical progression of your own behavior.
  • Observe others to adjust your approach to problems you must jointly solve.

If you want to do anything on the list, knowing yourself is the first line of offense.


Want to know how your words and actions hold up to what you believe your personality is? Kick the tires. Take it for a test drive. Let’s compare notes. Go to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter™ and see if you are a guardian, idealist, rational or artisan. It only takes a few minutes, and your report is free. Oh, and it is fun.


Did you take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter or have you taken it before? What personality class are you? Can you see yourself in the psychological description? Had you heard of David Keirsey or his work in social psychology before?

© Red Dwyer 2012
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  1. This is a very interesting topic my great friend, and no I have not taken the test yet but it does seem an interesting endeavour 🙂

    I have enjoyed reading about David Keirsey’s travels so to speak and his quest was a truly inspirational one with a fundamental outcome, indeed he is a rather learned individual.

    Right I will just have a nosy around and then it is time for a quick coffee before I go out 🙂 Have a lovely day today Red and be wicked 😉

    Androgoth XXx

    • I have just taken the
      test and I am a Guardian 🙂
      Well it all sounds good to
      me so I guess I passed 😉 lol

      Have a great day Red 🙂

      Androgoth XXx

      • Andro I can see you being a Guardian -smile-.
        Miss R recently posted..I is for InappropriateMy Profile

        • Red

           /  April 17, 2012

          That’s what I said!

        • Thank you Miss. R
          hey I am soooo far
          behind on Red’s posts
          and yours now that I
          will need a month of
          Sunday’s to catch up 🙁

          I will be calling by soon so
          watch out for that one Miss. R
          and do try to be good in the
          meantime 🙂 lol

          Androgoth XXx

      • Red

         /  April 17, 2012

        Somehow, that is not a surprise in the slightest.

        • I wasn’t sure what my results
          were going to be but Guardian
          does seem about right for me
          and I am happy with that one 🙂

          Hey you are steam-rolling ahead
          with your postings… Hmm I take
          a bit of time out and when I get
          back here I am swamped with all
          you wicked offerings 🙂 I will be
          trying to catch up later today 🙂

          Have a very nice day / evening
          and I am pleased that your journey
          was a safe one 🙂

          Androgoth XXx

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      I have a sneaking suspicion once I get through the comments you will have already been there 😉

  2. I just thought that I would call back in here and see what you are getting up to, well you have posted another letter so you have been very busy 🙂 I am leaving for the evening soon but will call in after watching my F1 and make a comment on your most recent postings Red 🙂

    Have a very safe journey and be good when you are there too, or else? 🙂 😉

    Androgoth XXx

  3. Red, I MUST click your link and take this test. Goddess knows I’ve taken everything from the MMPI to the Meyer Briggs in my ‘interesting life,’ as Tony once put it heh.
    This looks like coolness!
    Thank you my inserting, and interested, sweet friend!
    You find the niftiest things to ponder and share.
    Speaking of which it’s after 5:00 on Friday (the 13th!). Think we should share a glass of the red stuff.
    Am sure Andro will join us 😉
    Miss R recently posted..I is for InappropriateMy Profile

    • F**king typo. Should be ‘Interesting’ not ‘inserting’ hahahahaha. Not going there. Nopers.
      Gives me an idea for what I post when getting to K though buahahaha
      Miss R recently posted..I is for InappropriateMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      I missed the party! I would have loved to have had one, but I was still about an hour out…as in had only drive 775 by the time you posted this comment. The test is cool. And I find those who say “Nuh-uh!” are the ones best pegged.

  4. Ain’t that a hoot. I went to the Keirsey Temperament Report and got the basic. I’m an Idealist. I’ll pass on buying the other reports.

    Thanks for the fun Red.

    • Red

       /  April 17, 2012

      That is not surprising. What were the two letters after? And it did not give you the register box for the summary? You should have gotten the $5 report for free…

  5. Guardian (SJ)
    Very interesting??!!??
    lorrelee1970 recently posted..AccessMy Profile

    • Red

       /  April 18, 2012

      No wonder we get along so well. And it helps with the littlest one.

      • I wanted to go for artisan, but I guess that’s not practical. I guess I am the bully/leader of this roost. I see that in you as well.
        lorrelee1970 recently posted..AccessMy Profile

  6. Well, that was unsettling. Went back three times, couldn’t complete the test.
    Too many of the questions could be answered either way, and I have no rule for most of those situations – the answer is specific to the details.
    Egad – perhaps I simply have no personality…
    El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Meta EditionMy Profile

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