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Social Processes: Methodology · Types of test

Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) is an inventory for personality traits devised by Cloninger et al.[1] It is closely related to and an outgrowth of Tridimensional Personality Questionnaire (TPQ), and it has also been related to Zuckerman's and Eysenck's dimension of personality.[2]

TCI operates with seven dimensions of personality traits with four so-called temperaments[3]

  • Novelty Seeking (NS)
  • Harm Avoidance (HA)
  • Reward Dependence (RD)
  • Persistence (PS)

and further three so-called characters

  • Self-Directedness (SD)
  • Cooperativeness (CO)
  • Self-Transcendence (ST)

Each of these traits have a varying number of subscales. The dimensions are determined from a 240-items questionnaire.


Originally developed in English TCI has been translated to other languages, e.g., Swedish,[4] Japanese, Dutch, German, Korean,[5] Finnish, Chinese and French. There is also a revised version TCI-R. Whereas the original TCI had statements that the subject should indicate whether true or false the TCI-R has a five point rating for each statement. 189 of the 240 statements are common between the two versions. The revised version has been translated into Spanish,[6] French,[7] Czech,[8] and Italian.[9]

The number of subscales on the different top level traits are different between TCI and TCI-R. The subscales of the TCI-R are:

  • Novelty seeking (NS)
    1. Exploratory excitability (NS1)
    2. Impulsiveness (NS2)
    3. Extravagance (NS3)
    4. Disorderliness (NS4)
  • Harm avoidance (HA)
    1. Anticipatory worry (HA1)
    2. Fear of uncertainty (HA2)
    3. Shyness (HA3)
    4. Fatigability (HA4)
  • Reward dependence (RD)
    1. Sentimentality (RD1)
    2. Openness to warm communication (RD2)
    3. Attachment (RD3)
    4. Dependence (RD4)
  • Persistence (PS)
    1. Eagerness of effort (PS1)
    2. Work hardened (PS2)
    3. Ambitious (PS3)
    4. Perfectionist (PS4)
  • Self-directedness (SD)
    1. Responsibility (SD1)
    2. Purposeful (SD2)
    3. Resourcefulness (SD3)
    4. Self-acceptance (SD4)
    5. Enlightened second nature (SD5)
  • Cooperativeness (C)
    1. Social acceptance (C1)
    2. Empathy (C2)
    3. Helpfulness (C3)
    4. Compassion (C4)
    5. Pure-hearted conscience (C5)
  • Self-transcendence (ST)
    1. Self-forgetful (ST1)
    2. Transpersonal identification (ST2)
    3. Spiritual acceptance (ST3)

Neurobiological foundation

TCI has been used for investigating the neurobiological foundation for personality together with other research modalities, e.g., with molecular neuroimaging,[10] structural neuroimaging[11] and genetics.

TemperamentNeurotransmitter system
Novelty seekingLow dopaminergic activity
Harm avoidanceHigh serotonergic activity
Reward dependenceLow noradrenergic activity

Cloninger suggested that the three original temperaments from TPQ, novel seeking, harm avoidance and reward dependance, was correlated with low basal dopaminergic activity, high serotonergic activity, and low basal noradrenergic activity, respectively.[12]

Many studies have used TCI for examining whether genetic variants in individual genes have an association with personality traits. Gene variants that have been investigated are, e.g., 5-HTTLPR in the serotonin transporter gene and gene variants in XBP1.[13]

See also


  1. C. Robert Cloninger (1994). The temperament and character inventory (TCI): A guide to its development and use, St. Louis, MO: Center for Psychobiology of Personality, Washington University.
  2. Marvin Zuckerman and C. Robert Cloninger (August 1996). Relationships between Cloninger's, Zuckerman's, and Eysenck's dimensions of personality. Personality and Individual Differences 21 (2): 283–285.
  3. Temperament & Character Inventory. Center for Well-being, Washington University in St. Louis.
  4. S. Brandstrom, P. Schlette, T. R. Przybeck, M. Lundberg, T. Forsgren, S. Sigvardsson, P. O. Nylander, L. G. Nilsson, R. C. Cloninger & R. Adolfsson (May-June 1998). Swedish normative data on personality using the Temperament and Character Inventory. Comprehensive Psychiatry 39 (3): 122–128.
  5. In Kyoon Lyoo, Chang Hwan Han, Soo Jin Lee, Sook Kyeong Yune, Ji Hyun Ha, Sun Joo Chung, Hyunsoo Choi, Cheon Seok Seo & Kang-E. M. Hong (March-April 2004). The reliability and validity of the junior temperament and character inventory. Comprehensive Psychiatry 45 (2): 121–128.
  6. J. A. Gutierrez-Zotes, C. Bayon, C. Montserrat, J. Valero, A. Labad, C. R. Cloninger & F. Fernandez-Aranda (January-February 2004). [Temperament and Character Inventory Revised (TCI-R). Standardization and normative data in a general population sample]. Actas espanolas de psiquiatria 32 (1): 8–5.
  7. A. Pelissolo, L. Mallet, J.-M. Baleyte, G. Michel, C. R. Cloninger, J.-F. Allilaire, R. Jouvent (2005). The Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised (TCI-R): psychometric characteristics of the French version. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 112 (2): 126–133.
  8. Marek Preiss, Jirina Kucharova, Tomas Novak & Hana Stepankova (June 2007). The temperament and character inventory-revised (TCI-R): a psychometric characteristics of the Czech version. Psychiatria Danubina 19 (1-2): 27–24.
  9. Andrea Fossati, C. Robert Cloninger, Daniele Villa, Serena Borroni, Federica Grazioli, Laura Giarolli, Marco Battaglia & Cesare Maffei (July-August 2007). Reliability and validity of the Italian version of the Temperament and Character Inventory-Revised in an outpatient sample. Comprehensive Psychiatry 48 (4): 380–387.
  10. Jacqueline Borg, Bengt Andrée, Henrik Soderstrom, Lars Farde (November 2003). The Serotonin System and Spiritual Experiences. American Journal of Psychiatry 160 (11): 1965–1969.
  11. Hidenori Yamasue, Osamu Abe, Motomu Suga, Haruyasu Yamada, Hideyuki Inoue, Mamoru Tochigi, Mark Rogers, Shigeki Aoki, Nobumasa Kato & Kiyoto Kasai (January 2008). Gender-common and -specific neuroanatomical basis of human anxiety-related personality traits. Cerebral Cortex 18 (1): 46–42.
  12. C. R. Cloninger (Autumn 1986). A unified biosocial theory of personality and its role in the development of anxiety states. Psychiatric Developments 4 (3): 167–166.
  13. Ichiro Kusumi, Takuya Masui, Chihiro Kakiuchi, Katsuji Suzuki, Tatsuyuki Akimoto, Ryota Hashimoto, Hiroshi Kunugi, Tadafumi Kato & Tsukasa Koyama (December 2005). Relationship between XBP1 genotype and personality traits assessed by TCI and NEO-FFI. Neuroscience letters 391 (1-2): 7–10.


  • C. R. Cloninger, D. M. Svrakic & T. R. Przybeck (December 1993). A psychobiological model of temperament and character. Archives of General Psychiatry 50 (12): 975–970.