Body and Psychological Types Together

Is there a direct relationship between Jung's psychological types and Sheldon's body types? We believe that there is, and have examined this admitedly difficult question in detail in Tracking the Elusive Human, Volume 2.

The summary of our results looks like this:

 

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More technically it looks like this:

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Male Somatotypes and Psychological Types

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Female Somatotypes and Psychological Types

A Response from Helge:

Hi!

Thank you for writing about William Sheldon and the theories on somatotypes and psychology. It's a pity modern psychology and medicine doesn't recognize the great potential of his work.

I will only mention one thing from my own experience with Sheldon, which may be of some interest. I'm a very thin person, an ectomorph of about 1-2-7, if my own estimate is correct. I'm 42 years old, 172 cm tall, (57 ) and my weight is 48 kilos (105 lbs.). When telling my weight to most persons, they don't believe me. Some people think I'm seriously ill. According to "accepted" weight-tables, I'm 10-20 kilos (22-44 lbs.) underweight.

Now, I'm a perfectly healthy person, born and raised in Oslo, Norway, one of the world's richest countries. I come from an upper middle class family. I'm not sick, I don't have a drug problem. I don't have any eating disorder. I have never eaten any kind of light foods (low in fat content). I only eat healthy food. I don't do any regular training or exercise, other than walking. So, how can I be underweight?

How amazing then to read Sheldon's weight table for the different somatotypes. For a person 172 cm tall of my type (1-2-7), at 18 years old, according to Sheldon, the normal weight will be - 48 kilos! Which was exactly what I weighed at that age (and still do)! What courage this man had! No doctor today will dare say anything like this. It would be a disastrous career-move! 

It only shows how great Sheldon was, and how undeservedly he has been ignored (for instance - a near relative of mine, who is trained as a psychologist from the University in Uppsala, had never heard of him!). It is important that someone (like you) have the courage to continue Sheldon's (and other's) research, and give it the attention it needs. It is sad that today's "official" medicine ignores this research. Many people of all somatotypes, would benefit from a medicine open to the obvious connection between physique and psychology. For instance, people with low self-esteem, who constantly blame themselves for their own shortcomings in society will start to view themselves differently. Thank you.

I may add that my personality-traits fit very well with Sheldon's description of the ectomorph. For example, I'm mostly very ill at ease in social gatherings. In my adult life, I've never celebrated my birthday with more than four guests present, and most times I've celebrated my birthday alone. It's not sad - I prefer it that way! Best regards, Helge

 

A Response from Alain Figer

One year ago, I looked for SHELDON on the web and was unable to find any interesting site devoted to W. Sheldon. Hence I created a forum, the Sheldon Fans forum, using the PlanetAll facility.  Recently I relocated it at : SHELDON SOMATOTYPE FORUM. http://www.InsideTheWeb.com/mbs.cgi/mb144966

A friend of mine has just sent me the address of your site. I am
especially interested in your work trying to correlate Sheldon
somatotypes and Jungian types. I would be pleased to compare your results with mine, however your results are not published in your website, hence I am unable to comment on them.

You can find the correlation I worked out between Sheldon somatotypes and Myers-Briggs system at :
http://www.InsideTheWeb.com/mbs.cgi/mb161592


Alain Figer
Sheldon Fans
F-91400 Orsay (France)

A More Extensive Report from Alain Figer

My interest in practical psychology.

I started early being interested in practical psychology, after learning the basics of characterology at school, then graphology from a friend, a French expert. One or two decades later I serendipitously had a look at a French translation of the book The Varieties of Human Physique by William Sheldon that aroused considerable interest in me so that I immediately began studying thoroughly Sheldon’s methods and his
temperamental taxonomy.

It was about twenty years ago and I was finally aware that :
     - Sheldon, once a renowned searcher, had just come to "prove" the reality of the temperament to physique correlation, after having collected a huge number of measurements and defined a remarkably adapted methodology.
     - Sheldon’s observations and perseverance had led to a major discovery, at odds with the quacks’ claims, their astrological bunk and their meaningless fate guesses, that had been leading nowhere for centuries but to bring discredit on the personality psychology.
     - Sheldon’s monumental work had been overlooked and subsequently forgotten by the scientific community, mainly due to the World War II   consequences on what had to be considered as philosophically correct or incorrect.

As part of one of my long-term projects I have constituted a database of about 200 selected people (mainly friends, colleagues, close related ones) and I have been gathering for years all possible relevant information about their psychological traits as well as improving the determinations of their precise profile, using several different taxonomies and typologies, beginning with Sheldon’s and the French-Dutch
system by Heymans-Le Senne that correlate straight to each other.

My choice is to do precise - yet very time consuming - evaluations on a limited number of thoroughly studied people (with an estimation of the observational error) instead of making thousands of determinations (just from systematic testing of a whole population) suffering to be of lower quality and with a poorly known or underestimated error band.

Having practiced scientific research (15 years experience in astronomy) I have had the opportunity of thoroughly comparing estimations versus measurements, so that refining the estimation procedures is a field I am reasonably experienced at, and that is of much use for my psychological studies.

Concerning personality psychology, what interests me the most is :
     - studying the inter-correlations between the various taxonomies, personality theories and systems,
     - finding the ultimate differences between two people exhibiting the same set of psychological traits,
     - pushing every system to its very limits to see which best accuracy can be ultimately reached.

The many returns I get from this very demanding quest are more specifically :
     - the ability to easily translate from a system to another,
     - being quicker at grasping the personality of a newly met person, with the combined light of several systems used at once,
     - getting a broader perspective and a better understanding of the very limits of the typological approach,
     - being able to compare the various systems efficiency, obtaining a picture about pros and cons of each system.

2 to 3 years ago I began regular connecting to Internet and Usenet with the consequence to break little by little the isolation I was confined within. To be able to communicate with more people, I had to put more emphasis on the Myers-Briggs typology as well on the Big 5 taxonomy that are the most widely used by the Internet community. Then I came to know other so-called ‘Sheldon fans’, the first one being John Danzer. I am grateful he made me aware of the final work that Sheldon had done near the end of his life. Incidentally, John Danzer had just worked out a
tentative correlation scheme from Myers-Briggs typology to Sheldon’s. From my own observations I did not find too difficult to derive what I believe to be a more accurate picture of the correlation scheme. It is interesting to notice that the basics of this scheme of mine happen to match almost exactly what had been independently worked out, more than 10 years ago, by Jim and Tyra Arraj in their books about Tracking the Elusive Human.

Alain Figer, INTJ-INFP (that is : INtj), somatotype 3  4.5  4
Orsay (France), Nov 7, 1999.

Another response from Alain Figer

Dear Jim and Tyra,

Here are some news from France. Best regards, Alain
Subject: Physique to Temperament correlation
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000 18:22:21 +0100
From: Alain Figer <fgr05@club-internet.fr>
Organization: Sheldon fans
Newsgroups: sci.psychology.personality

Using a sample of 66 individuals - representing all the people I best know and have been knowing for very long time : close family, close colleagues, friends - I calculated the correlation ratios between Sheldon primary 3 components (endomorphism, mesomorphism, ectomorphism) and the big 5 factors (extraversion, openness, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness).

Preliminary results are the following.

No correlations were found involving Agreeableness or Conscientiousness  and any of the Sheldon 3 components, whereas significative correlations (what means : correlation ratios higher than 0.25) were found involving Extraversion, Openness and Neuroticism.

Extraversion is directly correlated to mesomorphism (+ 0.35) and endomorphism (+0.39), and inversely to ectomorphism (-0.50).

Openness is directly correlated to ectomorphism (+0.36) , inversely to endomorphism (-0.28), and uncorrelated to mesomorphism (-0.09).

Neuroticism is directly correlated to ectomorphism (+0.35), inversely to endomorphism (-0.42), and uncorrelated to mesomorphism (-0.09).

That means the most obvious correlations were found between Introversion and ectomorphism (0.50) and between Emotional Stability and endomorphism (0.42). Both correlations were expected, taking in account Sheldon’s results.

Nevertheless the ratio values I found are significantly lower than the superb three ratios claimed by William Sheldon, between Cerebrotony and ectomorphism (0.8), Viscerotony and endomorphism (0.8), Somatotony and mesomorphism (0.8).

Of course Cerobrotony is exactly neither Introversion nor Neuroticism, and Viscerotony is not exactly Emotional Stability; however my observational results clearly do not support the too high values found by Sheldon.

I don’t think that the observational errors (that I have carefully estimated as part of my work) can account for a much lower ratio than the actual one.

Of course I have yet to continue working out my observations, nevertheless I recommend to consider 0.3 - 0.5 as typical values for the physique to temperament correlation ratio.

For the record, note that I found no significative correlation between Agreeableness and endomorphism (+0.10). I thought it would have been expected to find one from Sheldon results.

 

Physique to Temperament correlation

Using a second sample of another 69 individuals - representing people I well know - I calculated the correlation ratios between Sheldon primary3 components (endomorphism, mesomorphism, ectomorphism) and the big 5factors (extraversion, openness, neuroticism, agreeableness,conscientiousness).

In this second sample, I found again the same kind of results than in the first sample of the 66 individuals I best know : however, as a rule,the correlation ratios are even higher !

Here are the cumulative results updated from the 135 people (all peoplefrom both samples).

No correlations were found involving Agreeableness or Conscientiousness and any of the Sheldon 3 components, whereas significative correlations (what means : correlation ratios much higher than 0.25) were found involving Extraversion, Openness and Neuroticism.

Note that from 135 people, there is less than one percent chance that a correlation ratio higher than 0.22 would be obtained purely by random.

Updated Results (from 135 people)

Extraversion is directly correlated to endomorphism (+0.52) and mesomorphism (+0.38), and inversely to ectomorphism (-0.60).

Openness is directly correlated to ectomorphism (+0.48) , inversely to endomorphism (-0.45), and uncorrelated to mesomorphism (-0.18).

Neuroticism is directly correlated to ectomorphism (+0.54), inversely to endomorphism (-0.54) and - marginally - to mesomorphism (-0.31).

That means the most apparent correlations were found :

1) between Introversion and ectomorphism (0.60) and between Emotional Stability and endomorphism (0.52).

2) between Introversion and Neuroticism (0.54) and between Emotional Stability and endomorphism (0.54).

These significative correlations were expected, taking in account Sheldon’s results.

Nevertheless the ratio values I found are significantly lower than the superb three ratios claimed by William Sheldon, between Cerebrotony and ectomorphism (0.8), Viscerotony and endomorphism (0.8), Somatotony and mesomorphism (0.8).

Of course Cerobrotony is exactly neither Introversion nor Neuroticism, and Viscerotony is not exactly Emotional Stability; however my observational results clearly do not support the too high values found by Sheldon.

Moreover I found no clear correlation between Agreeableness and endomorphism (+0.23). I thought it would have been expected to find one from Sheldon results.

I don’t think that the observational errors (that I have carefully estimated as part of my work) can account for a much lower ratio than the actual one.

I believe there exists the opposite risk, that means not being able to avoid some dependency between the temperamental estimations and the physical appearance of the examined person.

This methodologic remark is supported by the fact that the correlations ratios were all found lower from the people I best know, whereas higher from people I don't know as good. That means I could be suspected to gain extra information from physique when I lack this information from observed behaviour of the people I don't know enough extensively.

This remark could be most directed towards the correlation ratios involving Openness, since I find Openness more difficult to derive from behaviour - in my social environment of well educated people - than Extraversion or Neuroticism.

Alain Figer, fgr05@club-internet.fr
Orsay (France)

Now it is your turn to contribute to this discussion. Send us your questions and comments: arraj@innerexplorations.com

 

A Response

I just read through your body type information and saw that interested readers could contribute. I myself came to the same conclusion as you when I researched somatic types around 13 years ago. I was at the time educating myself in Ayurvedic medicine, and found the constitutional types in the ayurvedic tridosha theory to be remarkably similar to Sheldon's types. Also, I remember I found a lot of correlations between the ayurvedic tridosha types, Sheldon's types and another one (E Kretschmer) that consisted on the leptosom, the athletic and the pyknic type.

Sheldon’s ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph types correspond to the ayurvedic vata (ether and air), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (water and earth) types.

Basically, my conclusion was somewhat like this:

Ectomorph - vata - leptosom - elements ether and air - psychic centres/chakras heart and throat

Mesomorph - pitta - athletic - elements fire and water - psychic centres/chakras solar plexus and "hara" or tan tien

Endomorph - kapha - pyknic - elements water and earth - psychic centres/chakras hara/tan tien and the base centre

Also, according to Chinese typology the ectomorph type is classified as neutral in that it easily can become both yin or yang whereas the mesomorph is yang and the endomorph yin...that is mostly these polarities.

Jung's and Galen's types are easily added here.

If you explore the tridosha lore in particular you will learn a lot about Sheldon's types, and since the tridosha system also includes therapies, diets, herbs and more for each type this can really expand your knowledge and strategies for possible therapies for each type of physical and/or psychological problems. I have done so for years with only success.

If you deal with the tridosha types in view of Sheldon's characteristics you will find them to be remarkably similar. Also, as you will find, the tissues developed form the different part of the embryo, that is mesoderm, ectoderm and endoderm, is very similar to the tissues governed by the different doshas/ayurvedic types, or rather, energies. In short, there is a whole science to explore here which perfectly unites modern, semi-modern/historic, like Jung and Galen, and ancient like ayurvedic, Chinese, Tibetan, etc., knowledge about the human being.


Now it is your turn to contribute to this discussion. Send us your questions and comments: arraj@innerexplorations.com

 

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