ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Typology

Updated on April 21, 2010

Typology is the search for common elements or aspects of individuals, art productions, social organizations, and the like, whereby they may be grouped into logical arrangements. Human beings, for instance, may be typed according to physical or mental attributes. Art forms may be typed as representational or nonrepresentational, with many subtypes. Social groups may be classified with reference to the dominant characteristics that differentiate one society from another. The usual procedure is to isolate certain elements and then classify the data by noting resemblances and differences. The result is an abstraction, a category, which it is convenient to employ, but which does not completely denote the individual case or datum. Typology reveals the modal type, the form rather than the substance, of whatever is arranged into categories.

In psychology, the term typology applies to the systematic delineation of basic characteristics whereby persons may be classified into groups. One of the best known typologies of antiquity is that of Theophrastus, whose Characters gives brief accounts of such personalities as the glutton, the avaricious man, and other unpleasant types. For satirical portrayals of types of personalities, Jean de La Bruyere's delineations, based on Theophrastus, are unexcelled.

Interest in typologies based upon temperament is as old as Hippocrates. His belief, as developed by Galen, postulated four basic humors in the body and four corresponding temperaments. A relative excess of blood produces the sanguine type; of yellow bile, the choleric; of black bile, the melancholic; and of phlegm, the slow or phlegmatic. Uncritical and hasty extensions of the modern science of endocrinology continue the opinion that internal chemistry is a major determinant of personality type. Hence, there are references to the adrenal type, characterized by excess of energy, bravery, and readiness to anger; to the hyperthyroid type, marked by intensity and nervousness; and to other types connected with endocrine secretions.

Morphological indices have been used since antiquity as a plausible means for typing persons. In a book attributed to one of Aristotle's pupils there appear brief descriptions of traits believed to characterize various of the lower animals and pictures of human countenances fancifully resembling those of lower animals. The human being, then, is said to have all those phychological characteristics attributed to the animal he resembles. Thus, a broad countenance topped by abundant hair denotes the leonine type of personality. A sharp-featured countenance, resembling that of a fox, indicates a wily, deceitful personality. Physiognomy, as this pseudoscience was called, became popular throughout Europe in the 16th century. In 1743, George II decreed that it be outlawed in England.

Typological schemes based upon protrusions and recessions in the skull were developed by Francis J. Gall and popularized by John G. Spurzheim, his student. Known as phrenology, this aberration was popular for more than a century. Frank Parsons, a pioneer in vocational guidance for youth, advocated as late as 1909 that all young persons should consult phrenologists in order to determine their personality type before selecting a career.

Typologies have been derived from observations, and even measurements, of the body build. The old belief that the entire physique reflects personality recurs in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Yond Cassius has  a lean  and hungry look; He thinks too much:   such men are dangerous.

In 1921 Ernst Kretschmer, a German psychiatrist, popularized the view that physique and personality have a one-to-one correspondence. He might have referred to Cassius as an asthenic type; hence, schyzothemic, or thoughtful and uncommunicative. When Caesar said, "Let me have men about me that are fat," he referred, in Kretschmer-ian typology, to the pyknic individual, who is jolly, trusting, and extroverted.

The most complete typology based upon morphology is that developed and publicized by William H. Sheldon about 1940. He delineates the endomorph, whose plump build is associated with a life of physical comforts; the mesomorph, who has a muscular physique and a personality attuned to great activity; and the ectomorph, whose physique is lean and concave and whose personality is characterized by a thoughtful, studious nature. Sheldon based his typology upon accurate measurements of various parts of the body and their relationships to one another. His studies of personalities were conducted by tests, interviews and objective judgments.

The impact of Freud upon psychology stimulated the development of typologies related to psychoanalytic concepts and psychiatric symptomatology. Thus, a person who is incapable of making decisions and who must obtain strength from another is said to be the oral dependent type. A secretive, miserly individual is described as an anal retentive type. It is also currently fashionable to describe the excessively cautious, suspicious person as the paranoid type. Many other psychiatric labels are popularly applied in these typologies, often without any scientific warrant and with vague and shifting connotations.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Once again, an interesting and informative hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)