The Relationship Between Body Type and Personality: An Examination of Sheldon’s Theory

1. Introduction

William Sheldon is an American psychologist who is best known for his work on the relationship between body type and temperament. He developed a classification system of three basic body types – endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph – which he believed were linked to different personality types. While his theories have been criticized and are not universally accepted by the scientific community, they continue to be influential in popular culture.

2. Theories and Methods

Sheldon put the ancient points of view of the affiliation between the type of body and temperament on sheltered basics. Theoretically this was done by him on the level of somatotypes. It all started with the fact that already in the 19th century there were ideas about the connection of physique and character. But only Sheldon was able to arrange everything into a single system and give it a scientific explanation.

-2.1 Endomorph
Endomorphs are heavy, round, and soft. They have a thick skin, a large amount of fat, and small bones. They are typically short and have a pear-shaped body type. Sheldon believed that endomorphs are characterized by a relaxed and easy-going temperament. They are typically good natured and enjoy social activities. They may also be prone to obesity and other health problems associated with being overweight.

-2.2 Mesomorph
Mesomorphs are medium build, muscular, and athletic. They have a large bone structure, wide shoulders, and a narrow waist. They are typically of average height and have an hourglass or V-shaped body type. Sheldon believed that mesomorphs are characterized by a forceful and aggressive temperament. They are typically ambitious and assertive, with a strong sense of competition. They may also be prone to violence and other risky behaviors.

-2.3 Ectomorph
Ectomorphs are thin, delicate, and fragile. They have small bones, thin skin, and little body fat. They are typically tall and have a rectangular or long-limbed body type. Sheldon believed that ectomorphs are characterized by a nervous and withdrawn temperament. They are typically introverted and shy, with a strong need for security and stability. They may also be prone to anxiety and other mental health problems.

3. Criticism and Controversy

Sheldon’s theories have been criticized for being overly simplistic and for relying on stereotypes. Additionally, there is no scientific evidence to support his claims about the links between body type and personality. Many scientists believe that these traits are influenced by a variety of factors, including genetics, social environment, and individual experience.

4. Conclusion

Sheldon’s theories about the relationship between body type and personality continue to be influential in popular culture, despite the lack of scientific evidence to support them. His work has been important in helping to shape our understanding of the human body and its relation to the mind.


William Sheldon became a psychologist because he was interested in understanding human behavior and mental processes.

Some of the key influences on his thinking were early researchers such as Wilhelm Wundt and Sigmund Freud.

His major theories included somatotyping and constitutional psychology. His methods included observational studies, surveys, and experiments.

He developed his ideas by studying the work of other psychologists and conducting his own research.

He tested and refined his theories by conducting experiments and analyzing data from his observations and surveys.

He had some notable successes, such as developing the theory of somatotyping, but he also had some failures, such as when his experiment on constitutional psychology was disproven by later research.