Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952668 | Print ISBN: 9781412909488 | Online ISBN: 9781412952668 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
From a historical perspective, race psychology in its broad meaning can be divided into four overlapping periods. At the beginning stood the association of race with certain aspects of the psyche or soul. Although so-called great thinkers provided prejudicial assessments of various ethnic groups (e.g., Aristotle) or attributed psychological qualities to certain cultures and types, such as the noble savage (e.g., J.-J. Rousseau), the systematic combination of psychological characteristics with race occurred in the 18th century, when humanity was classified into distinct groups. Carolus Linnaeus combined in his human taxonomy varieties of humans (races) with psychological, natural, and social characteristics. He assigned the classical temperaments to four races: The white Europeans were defined as sanguine and governed by law; the red Americans as choleric and governed by custom; the yellow Asians as melancholic and governed by opinion; and the black Africans as phlegmatic and governed by the will of The ...