PTypes - Personality Types
PTypes Temperaments

Idealist Rationalist Traditionalist Hedonist

The Idealist (melancholic) Temperament

The Hyperesthetic Idealized Image

"Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic" (


The Idealist type prefers superiority and disprefers inferiority. The Idealist prefers:

  • Superiority.
  • Perfection.
  • Meaning.
  • Purpose.
  • Acceptance.
  • Approval.
  • Altruism.
  • Aesthetics.
  • Accomplishment.
  • Accuracy.
  • Completion.
  • Culmination.
  • Faultlessness.
  • Improvement.
  • Intimacy.
  • Self-actualization.
  • Social justice.

David Keirsey reconfigured the typology created by Isabel Briggs Myers to a scheme of four groups of four types that corresponds to the classic four temperaments. In Please Understand Me (1984), he defined one group as the Idealist temperament:

Idealists want to search for Self, to become themselves, to have a goal, a purpose in life, to be self-actualized, to be and become real, to be what they are meant to be and to have an identity which is uniquely theirs, to become self-actualized into a perfect whole and to have an identity which is perfectly unique, to have meaning, to have their significance appreciated, or at the very least, recognized as existing, to have integrity, that is unity, with no facade, no mask, no pretense, no sham, no playing of roles, to be genuine, to communicate authentically, to be in harmony with the inner experiences of self, to avoid a life of bad faith, to live a life of significance, making a difference in the world, to experience life as a drama, to be sensitive to the subtle gestures and metaphoric behavior in relationships, to help others become kinder, warmer, and more loving human beings, to reform the world, to romanticize their experiences, their lives, and the experiences and lives of others (Keirsey, 1984, pp. 57-66; cf., Heineman (NF)).

The pathological representation of the Idealist temperament type is the Hyperesthetic Personality.

Areas of interest

Many of these additional topics originated in ideas expressed by David Keirsey in Please Understand Me.

achieving a goal, actors, actresses, actualizing potential, Apollo, attitudes, awareness, bearer of truth, becoming a person, becoming oneself, biographers, brings out the best in others, clinical psychology, communicating with people, communications media, counseling psychology, creative efforts, cultivating human potential, dedicated to helping others, desire for self-actualization, devoted to a cause, divinity, dramatists, encounter groups, gestalt group, greater intensity in relationships, guilt, having a goal, having a purpose,



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Positive attributes: altruistic, analytical, authentic, behaved, believing, benevolent, calm, caring, chart maker, communicative, compassionate, compliant, conscientious, considerate, creative, cultured, deep, deliberate, dependable, detail conscious, detailed, disciplined, emotional, empathic, enthused, enthusiastic, ethical, even-tempered, exacting, faithful, fervent, genuine, helpful, idealistic, industrious, inspired, intuitive, loyal, musical, nurturing, orderly, organized, perfectionist, persistent, personal, planner, pleasing, precise, prophetic, psychic, relating, reliable, respectful, scheduled, self-sacrificing, sensitive, serious, sincere, spiritual, subjective, sympathetic, systematic, thoughtful, understanding, unifier, unworldly, visionary, warm, well-behaved, well-organized.

Negative attributes: alienated, bashful, confused, credulous, critical, depressed, detached, difficult, estranged, exacting, fussy, guilt prone, hard to please, hypochondriac, indecisive, inflexible, insecure, introvert, judgmental, loner, moody, moralistic, mystical, negative attitude, overly sensitive, perfectionistic, pessimistic, picky, revengeful, resentful, too sensitive, skeptical, self-absorbed, self-critical, self-righteous, stuffy, suspicious, touchy, unforgiving, unpopular, unrealistic, withdrawn, worry prone.

Noteworthy Examples

Alfred Adler, Joan Baez, Tallulah Bankhead, Jorn Barger, Drew Barrymore, John Barrymore, Ernest Becker, Ingmar Bergman, Bill Bradley, Dick Cheney, Calvin Coolidge, "Blanche DuBois," Tom Brokaw, Joyce Brothers, Jerry Brown, William F. Buckley, Carol Burnett, Albert Camus, James Carville, G. K. Chesterton, Noam Chomsky, Frederic Chopin, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mario Cuomo, Robert De Niro, Emily Dickenson, Joan Didion, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Bob Dylan, Matt Drudge, "Emma Bovary," Diane Feinstein, Gustav Flaubert, Jane Fonda, E. M. Forster, Erich Fromm, Mohandas Gandhi, Greta Garbo, Judy Garland, Allen Ginsberg, Al Gore, Stephen J. Gould, Billy Graham, Martha Graham, Ulysses S. Grant, Alexander Hamilton, "Hamlet," George Harrison, Goldie Hawn, Katherine Hepburn, Hermann Hesse, Adolph Hitler, Michael Jackson, Phil Jackson, Henry James, William James, Thomas Jefferson, Peter Jennings, John Paul II, Barbara Jordan, Michael Jordan, Meir Kahane, Diane Keaton, Robert F. Kennedy, Soren Kierkegaard, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, Jessica Lange, D. H. Lawrence, Vladimir Lenin, C. S. Lewis, G. Gordon Liddy, Rush Limbaugh, Walter Lippmann, Saint Ignatius Loyola, Charles Manson, Cotton Mather, Joseph McCarthy, Margaret Mead, Herman Melville, Joni Mitchell, Walter Mondale, Saint Thomas More, Bill Moyers, Benito Mussolini, Ralph Nader, Paul Newman, Anais Nin, Richard Nixon, Martha Nussbaum, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lawrence Olivier, Jackie Onassis, Eugene O'Neill, Camille Paglia, Michelle Pfeiffer, Prince, Marcel Proust, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Redford, Vanessa Redgrave, Carl Rogers, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Carl Sagen, J. D. Salinger, Susan Sarandon, Albert Schweitzer, William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, "Siddhartha," Upton Sinclair, Gene Siskel, "Mr. Spock," Bruce Springsteen, Gloria Steinam, John Steinbeck, Martha Stewart, Margaret Thatcher, James Thurber, Sigourney Weaver, Walt Whitman, George F. Will, Tennessee Williams, Woodrow Wilson, Bob Woodward, Virginia Woolf.

Index of noteworthy examples


Conscientious Sensitive Vigilant Dramatic

Keirsey, David, and Marilyn Bates (1984). Please understand me: character and temperament types. 4th ed. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis [distributer].

* Sources of Attributes

The positive and negative attributes were compiled from the following four dimension personality instruments:

Littauer, Florence (1992). Personality plus : how to understand others by understanding yourself. Rev. and expanded ed. Tarrytown, NY: F.H. Revell.

Williams, Xandria (1996). The four temperments: how to achieve love, health, and happiness by understanding yourself and the people around you. New York: St. Martin's.

Merrill, David W. and Roger H. Reid (1981). Personal styles and effective performance : make your style work for you. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Co.

Keirsey, David (1995). Portraits of temperament. Del Mar, CA: Prometheus Nemesis.

Social Style and Conflict :

Career/LifeSkills Resources Inc. > True Colors :

Hartmann, Taylor (1998). The color code : a new way to see yourself, your relationships, and life. New York: Scribner.

Disc Interconsult - Personality Profiling: DISC History :

Was, Mike, Alan Combs and Julie N. Combs (1999). Finding your strong suit: how to read your spouse, boss, partner, lover, opponent, & yourself. Los Angeles: Renaissance Books.

Idealist Rationalist Traditionalist Hedonist

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