What is the Temperament and Character Inventory?

The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) is a set of tests designed to identify the intensity of and relationships between the seven basic personality dimensions of Temperament and Character, which interact to create the unique personality of an individual.


Temperament refers to the automatic emotional responses to experience and is moderately heritable (i.e., genetic, biological) and relatively stable throughout life.

The 4 measured temperament dimensions are:

  1. Novelty Seeking (NS)
  2. Harm Avoidance (HA)
  3. Reward Dependence (RD)
  4. Persistence (PS)



Character refers to self-concepts and individual differences in goals and values, which influence voluntary choices, intentions, and the meaning and salience of what is experienced in life. Differences in character are moderately heritable and moderately influenced by socio-cultural learning. Character traits mature in progressive steps throughout life.

The 3 measured character dimensions are:

  1. Self-Directedness (SD)
  2. Cooperativeness (CO)
  3. Self-Transcendence (ST)


Want to learn more about the Temperament and Character traits? Read Dr. Cloninger’s detailed descriptions of the 7 traits.

Each of these aspects of personality interacts with the other ones to help us adapt to life.

The interactions between traits reflect our emotional conflicts and influence our susceptibility to emotional and behavioral disorders. By integrating character and temperament, which reflects the psychobiology of personality, the TCI allows us to move into a new dimension of understanding ourselves and humanity. This test preserves the time-tested and proven aspects of previous psychological and psychiatric data but negates the charged battles between biology and psychology to form a new integrative whole. This integration also includes a transcendent sphere that allows an understanding of how much a person experiences life as an integral part of the universe. The resulting insight helps us to establish a definition of and a way to measure an individual’s experience of well-being and happiness. With this, we can more clearly choose the best approach or therapy to help bring someone to a state of happiness and well-being.