The two people I will analyze on the three dimensions of temperament are my parents, a woman named Diane and her husband Andrew.
Diane is a 49 year old woman who is currently unemployed. She was the vice president of a construction company. She has been divorced once. She has been married to Andrew for over 24 years. She is the mother of three children. I am the second born of her three children.
Andrew is a 47 year old man whose occupation is supervisor of a large warehouse. This is his first and only marriage. He is the father of 2 of Diane’s children. I am the first born of his two children.
To know where I would place these two people on the three dimensions of temperament you must first understand what the three dimensions are. The first dimension is high and low gain. High gainers receive large doses of stimulation, therefore, they are usually shy and like a quiet environment. Low gainers do not receive enough stimulation, therefore, they seek out new forms of stimulation and speak more often.
The R A S (reticular activating system) in the center of the brain stem and the thalamus in the brain stem control this dimension. How high or low these parts of the brain are set at determines your place on this dimension. The second dimension is deliberation-liberation. A deliberate person deliberates, plans, and organizes a great deal. A liberated person acts on the spur of the moment and rarely plans or organizes anything.
The frontal lobes of the brain and the limbic system of the brain (page 2) control this dimension. Where you are on this dimension depends on to what extent the frontal lobes control the limbic system. The third dimension is positive approach-negative withdrawal. A positive person is an optimist. A negative person is a pessimist.
The left and right hemispheres of the brain control this dimension. Whether you have more left or right hemisphere alpha rhythm determines your place on this dimension. 2. In the following diagrams I will show where I believe Diane and Andrew to be on the three dimensions of temperament.
High gain-low gain dimension: high gain low gain ^ ^ Andrew Diane Deliberation-liberation dimension: deliberate liberated ^ ^ Andrew Diane Positive approach-negative withdrawal dimension: positive negative ^ ^ Diane Andrew I believe Diane to be in the middle of the gain dimension. She (page 3) likes to go out and do things, but, she is just as happy staying home and reading or watching television. She fits the descriptions that Ornstein gives on this dimension. She likes stimulation, but, she does not like it all the time. Ornstein believes most people are in the middle of the three dimensions, Diane is one of the people in the middle of the gain dimension. I believe Andrew to be very high gain.
Andrew does not like to go out and do things, he would rather stay home and watch television. Andrew does not like to have people visit his house because he wants a quiet environment all the time. Andrew fits most of the descriptions of a high gainer that Ornstein gives. He likes a quiet environment with little stimulation. I believe Diane to be very liberated. She is messy, unorganized, and always late.
The only reason she cleans the house is because of Andrew’s complaints about the messiness. Diane fits Ornstein’s description of this dimension almost perfectly. She is like most other liberated people. I believe Andrew to be the opposite of Diane, he is very deliberate. Andrew plans and organizes everything.
He is always on time, sometimes he is even early. Andrew fits Ornstein’s descriptions of this dimension almost perfectly. He is like most other deliberate people and the opposite of Diane. I believe Diane to be a positive approach person. She is always happy and looking for the best in every situation. Almost nothing can make her feel sad.
She fits Ornstein’s description of this dimension very well. Diane is a true optimist. I believe Andrew to be a negative withdrawal person. He is always unhappy about (page 4) something.
He rarely finds any humor in the jokes he is told. He also is prejudiced about race relations and homosexuality. Andrew fits some of Ornstein’s descriptions on this dimension. Andrew is a true pessimist.
Even though Diane and Andrew are almost at the opposite ends of each other on the three dimensions of temperament, they get along very well. The reason why they get along so well is because they deal with their differences like mature adults. Andrew has never fought with Diane, no matter how heated an argument got.
Andrew tells Diane to go sit down and cool off. This is the behavior that has kept their marriage together for almost 25 years. They also compromise on what to do with their free time on weekends. An example would be Andrew wants to stay home and watch sports on Sunday, Diane wants to go to the local movie theater.
They resolve this problem by compromising. This week they will stay home and watch sports on television. Next week they will go to the theater and see the movie. They may complain to each other, but, they compromise to resolve their problems.
I believe the three dimensions of temperament to be a very useful tool in understanding another persons behavior. The three dimensions helped me understand the marriage of Diane and Andrew. I thought that people on the opposite ends of the three dimensions would not get along. Studying Diane and Andrew made me realize this not true. Just as Diane and Andrew are not the same, neither is anyone else.
They learned to compromise so that they (page 5) could live together, I believe everyone else needs to compromise so that the world could learn to live together without major problems. I think most people would agree with my measurements of Diane and Andrew on the three dimensions of temperament, except for the first born child of Diane , whose name is James. James is 28 years old. I believe he would say that I am wrong and he would measure his parents to get a better measurement. I believe this would happen if I asked him how accurate I was in measuring his parents because James is a very untrustworthy person. He doubts everything and anything anyone has to say.
Other than James, almost everyone else would agree with my measurements of Diane and Andrew. For example, their youngest child, their daughter Jessica, agreed with my measurements. I explained the three dimensions of temperament to Jessica as best as I could to a 10 year old child. She agreed with my measurements because of the examples I gave her about the behavior of people on the different ends of the three dimensions of temperament.