What does the TCI measure?

The TCI measures individual differences in the ways that people feel, act, or behave. These differences are expressed through different individual scores on 7 personality dimensions: 4 dimensions of Temperament and 3 dimensions of Character.

Temperament – Our Emotional Drives




Fear, Behavioral Inhibition







Anger, Behavioral Activation






Attachment, Social Attachment






Ambition, Partial Reinforcement

Harm Avoidance involves a heritable bias in the inhibition of behavior in response to signals of punishment and frustrative non-reward. It is observed as pessimistic worry in anticipation of problems, fear of uncertainty, shyness with strangers, and rapid fatigability. People high in Harm Avoidance are fearful, socially inhibited, shy, passive, easily tired, and pessimistic even in situations that do not worry other people. People low in Harm Avoidance are carefree, courageous, energetic, outgoing and optimistic even in situations that worry most people.

Novelty Seeking reflects a heritable bias in the initiation or activation of appetitive approach in response to novelty, approach to signals of reward, active avoidance of conditioned signals of punishment, and skilled escape from unconditioned punishment. They are observed as exploratory activity in response to novelty, impulsiveness, extravagance in approach to cues of reward, and active avoidance of frustration. Individuals high in Novelty Seeking are quick-tempered, curious, easily bored, impulsive, extravagant, and disorderly. Persons low in Novelty Seeking are slow tempered, uninquiring, stoical, reflective, frugal, reserved, tolerant of monotony, and orderly.

Reward Dependence reflects a heritable bias in the maintenance of behavior in response to cues of social reward. It is observed as sentimentality, social sensitivity, attachment, and dependence on approval by others. Individuals high in Reward Dependence are tender-hearted, sensitive, socially dependent, and sociable. Individuals low in Reward Dependence are practical, tough-minded, cold, socially insensitive, irresolute, and indifferent if alone.

Persistence reflects a heritable bias in the maintenance of behavior despite frustration, fatigue, and intermittent reinforcement. It is observed as industriousness, determination, and perfectionism. Highly Persistent people are hard-working, perseverant, and ambitious overachievers who tend to intensify their effort in response to anticipated reward and perceive frustration and fatigue as a personal challenge. Accordingly low Persistence is an adaptive strategy when reward contingencies change rapidly and may be maladaptive when rewards are infrequent but occur in the long run.

Character – Our Goals, Beliefs, and Values












Self-Directedness quantifies the extent to which an individual is responsible, reliable, resourceful, goal-oriented, and self-confident. The most advantageous summary feature of self-directed individuals is that they are realistic and effective, i.e., they are able to adapt their behavior in accord with individually chosen, voluntary goals based on a realistic assessment of facts.

Cooperativeness quantifies the extent to which individuals conceive themselves as integral parts of human society. Highly cooperative persons are described as empathic, tolerant, compassionate, supportive and principled. These features are advantageous in teamwork and social groups, but not for individuals who prefer to live in a solitary manner.

Self-Transcendence quantifies the extent to which individuals conceive themselves as integral parts of the universe as a whole. Self-transcendent individuals are spiritual, unpretentious, humble, and fulfilled. These traits are adaptively advantageous when people are confronted with suffering, illness, or death, which is inevitable with advancing age.