Cholerics are assertive, driven individuals, often resisting external influence and striving for leadership roles.

The concept of the four temperaments can be traced back to ancient Greek medicine and philosophy, particularly the work of Hippocrates. He proposed that bodily fluids, such as blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, influenced human behavior and health. This is also known as “humors”.

These humors were thought to correspond to four temperamental types:

  • sanguine
  • phlegmatic
  • melancholic
  • choleric

Choleric temperament is characterized by assertiveness, confidence, and a tendency to be task-oriented. Let’s explore this temperament further.

The choleric temperament is one of the four temperaments in the ancient theory of humorism. It’s characterized by qualities associated with yellow bile, believed to influence an individual’s behavior and personality.

Those with a choleric temperament are often described as extroverted, assertive, and goal-oriented. They’re also driven by a need to achieve results. This temperament reflects an energetic and strong-willed disposition.

Cholerics are often described as visionary and practical individuals who aren’t easily influenced by others’ opinions. They tend to be direct, firm, and may seek positions of authority.

What’s the difference between temperament and personality?

Temperament, our innate and biologically-rooted behavioral tendencies, is our natural way of responding to the world. It remains consistent across situations and comes from within, shaping our immediate reactions.

Personality is considered more flexible and adaptable than temperament. It involves a broader range of characteristics influenced by both nature and nurture. It reflects our unique traits and behaviors learned through experiences over time.

For a deeper look at the differences between temperament and personality, visit this Psych Central article.


  • Results-oriented: Cholerics are driven by a primary need to achieve tangible outcomes.
  • Confident: They exhibit self-confidence, self-sufficiency, and independence.
  • Decision makers: Cholerics make decisions easily, both for themselves and others.
  • Visionary: They’re often visionaries with practical ideas, plans, and goals.
  • Active: Cholerics are highly active and energetic, requiring less sleep.
  • Hard-working: Cholerics are known for their energetic and determined approach to tasks.


  • Inflexible: They may be resistant to changing their plans or opinions.
  • Dominant: Cholerics can be perceived as overly assertive, direct, or dominating.
  • Insensitive: Their focus on results may lead to less consideration for others’ feelings.
  • Impatient: Cholerics may lack patience, seeking quick outcomes.
  • Need control: They may have a strong desire for control and authority.
  • Extroverted: Cholerics are outgoing and socially confident.
  • Quick-thinking: They process information rapidly.
  • Decisive: Cholerics make decisions easily and with conviction.
  • Self-Confident: They possess a strong belief in their abilities.
  • Independent: Cholerics are self-sufficient and value autonomy.
  • Visionary: They’re creative thinkers with practical ideas and goals.
  • Results-oriented: Driven by a need to achieve tangible outcomes.
  • Highly active: Cholerics are energetic and require less sleep.
  • Direct communicator: They express themselves openly and assertively.
  • Goal-driven: Cholerics pursue their objectives with determination.
  • Choleric: Exhibits extroversion, quick thinking, decisiveness, self-confidence, and a strong drive to achieve results. Often visionary and goal-oriented.
  • Sanguine: Characterized by sociability, enthusiasm, optimism, spontaneity, and liveliness. Sanguines are charismatic and adaptable communicators.
  • Melancholic: Displays analytical thinking, detail orientation, organization, sensitivity, and depth. Melancholics are reliable, creative, and reflective individuals.
  • Phlegmatic: Possesses calmness, easygoing nature, diplomatic skills, patience, and empathy. Phlegmatics are balanced, good listeners, and adaptable individuals.

According to research from 2016, cholerics are more likely to report high life satisfaction compared to the other three temperaments. In addition, cholerics may experience low affect balance which is associated with higher perceived stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

A 2001 study using electroencephalogram (EEG) found differences in brain response patterns among individuals with different temperaments. The study showed variations in inhibitory effects linked to temperamental differences.

Cholerics displayed the least inhibition, while melancholics showed the most. This indicates that specific neurophysiological patterns are connected to different temperaments, offering insights into the potential neurological foundation for temperament-related personality traits.

To discover your temperament, consider taking the Four Temperaments Test provided by Psych Central.

Choleric temperament combinations

The choleric temperament can combine with the other three temperaments to create distinct personality blends. Each combination brings a unique set of traits and behaviors:


  • Characteristics: energetic, sociable, goal-driven, enthusiastic
  • Strengths: ambitious, adaptable, outgoing
  • Weaknesses: impulsive, may have difficulty with consistency


  • Characteristics: analytical, decisive, detail-oriented, visionary
  • Strengths: goal-oriented, creative, organized
  • Weaknesses: perfectionistic, prone to overthinking


  • Characteristics: decisive, calm, diplomatic, goal-driven
  • Strengths: balanced, adaptable, empathetic
  • Weaknesses: may avoid confrontation, less assertive

While the four temperaments proposed by Hippocrates have historical significance, they aren’t widely used in modern psychological research or clinical practice. Still, their influence has shaped various personality theories and systems.

Contemporary psychology favors comprehensive models like the Big Five personality traits for a nuanced understanding of individual differences. These traits consist of:

  • openness
  • conscientiousness
  • extraversion
  • agreeableness
  • neuroticism

But a study from 2018 revisited these ancient types and identified four modern clusters:

  • average
  • reserved
  • self-centered
  • role model

Using the Big Five traits, the study shows personality types can change with age, with implications for fields like hiring and mental healthcare.

The choleric personality, rooted in ancient humorism, reflects:

  • assertiveness
  • goal-oriented drive
  • a strong-willed disposition

Visionary and practical, cholerics resist external influence, often seeking positions of authority.

While the concept has historical significance, contemporary psychology emphasizes broader characteristics such as the Big Five personality traits.

But recognizing the historical significance of the choleric temperament still provides valuable insights into assertive and determined behavior, broadening our understanding of the diverse spectrum of human traits.