Planes of Being According to the Temperament and Character Model of Personality Measured by a Controlled Word Association Test

Planes of being measured by word association test

  • Alireza Farnam Research Center of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
  • Sharareh Abdollah Self-awareness Research Committee, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
  • Sayna Gholipour Department of Psychiatry, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
  • Masumeh Zamanlu Neuroscience Research Center, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran


Objective: The psychobiological personality model described by Cloninger, well-known as the Temperament and Character model, incorporates five personality layers or planes named as: sexual plane, material plane, emotional plane, intellectual plane and spiritual plane. To the best of our knowledge there is no experimental investigation in this regard and actually no practical and rapid measurement for planes of being (or personality layers). The current study proposes a rapid quantitative measurement of planes of being based upon a controlled word association test and reports the pilot results obtained from a sample of academic students.

Methods & Materials: Eighty four academic students completed a demographic questionnaire and then completed a controlled word association test, designed based upon Jung’s theory with defined words, each word strongly related to one plane of being. The five planes of being were scored based upon the selected options by the subject, as well as the delays and paused intervals. A dominant plane of being was determined thereafter.

Results: The dominant plane of being for most subjects was the emotional plane, which could be expected due to the characteristics of the studied population and the theories for psychosocial growth.

conclusion: Therefore, a quantitative measure for personality layers is introduced with preliminary promising results. This measure could be used and be validated further in future research and even in clinical practices. 

Keywords: Personology, Personality layers, Temperament and character, Controlled word association, Psychoanalysis, Jung

Original Article