Strengths and Weaknesses: How Your Temperament Influences Your Studying

What is your temperament? Are you a people person? Or are you a lively, impulsive soul who yearns for adventure? Or perhaps you are a mix of both. Did you know that your temperament influences your ability to learn?

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates formulated four categories of human temperament based on the four elements and the four “senses of humor” of the body: Sanguine, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Melancholic.

Temperament has a profound effect on all aspects of our lives, including relationships, careers, and learning. Understanding your temperament, as well as the strengths and weaknesses within it, can help you channel your strengths as a learner and overcome your weaknesses.

Here are the strengths and weaknesses of each temperament.


People of a sanguine disposition are extroverted and impulsive. They love to talk and are the life of the party! They are also extremely energetic and always up for an adventure.


The boundless energy and enthusiasm of a Sanguine type serve them well when confronted with hard work, especially if the work interests them. They also excel at public speaking and in group work.


A Sanguine gets bored easily and may have difficulty concentrating. Because of their impulsivity, they frequently become distracted. They are not good at meeting deadlines.


Choleric types are born leaders. They are full of passion and energy and want to instill those qualities in others. They are goal-oriented, excelling at making decisions and getting things done. At times, they can appear to have a disregard for the emotions of others.


The logical and analytical skills of this type make them excellent problem-solvers. They set high standards, demanding perfect work of themselves and others. If a Choleric is your lab partner or in your study group, you can be sure that they will insist on all tasks being completed on time and that they adhere to a very high quality.


This type is stubborn about their opinion. They cannot be persuaded by emotions, only by facts. This might be problematic in disciplines that are more abstract, such as the arts or literature. When working in a group, they may occasionally seem insensitive to the feelings of others.


This type is easy-going, calm, and content. They are peace-loving, always striving for unity and harmony. They are more about seeing the “big picture” rather than the details and are good at classifying information and making generalizations.


The harmonious relationships a Phlegmatic builds with instructors and classmates enhance their learning. Their ability to categorize and classify abstract ideas also serves them well.


A Phlegmatic is indecisive and overly cautious. Their unwillingness to act can cause them to miss deadlines or leave things to the last minute.


Melancholics are deeply thoughtful and introspective. They excel at analyzing details. They are perfectionists, with deep regard and intuition about the emotions of others.



A Melancholic is highly creative. They are independent thinkers, very organized, and excellent problem-solvers.


A Melancholic easily falls prey to excessive worrying and depression. They can also be indecisive and occasionally lack initiative.

Whatever your particular strengths are, learn to channel them successfully in your coursework and you can achieve great things.