William Herbert Sheldon’s Theory:
Criminology 212, Semester 1
Professor Alan Skrocki
December 7, 2009
04 Dec. 2009
William Herbert Sheldon was born in 1898, growing up in Warwick, Rhode
Island. He was an American Psychologist and a Numismatics. He wrote a couple books, two of
them being Penny Whimsy and Atlas of Men. William went through many years of schooling, all
paying off when he received his A.B. degree in 1919, his masters at the University of Colorado,
his Ph.D in 1925 from the University of Chicago in Psychology, and he earned his M.D. in 1933
at the University of Chicago as well. Before all of that he worked as an oil field scout, a wolf
hunter, and then a high school teacher. After William’s divorce to Louise Steger he began to
teach psychology at the University of Texas, University of Chicago, and the University of
Wisconsin. After William earned his M.D. he took an internship where he was offered to study
psychiatry in Zurich, Switzerland with Ca Jung. He then became a professor at the University of
Chicago for Psychology. A couple years later he left to work with an experimental psychologist
at Harvard University. A year or two later he started to examine the relationships between
physical attributes and personality traits. Sheldon spent his life devoted to observing the variety
of human bodies and temperaments.
William Sheldon related peoples body types to their behavior. A persons behavior
develops at a young age due to different influences. He created the Somatotype Theory which
was based on different behavior types. There are three basic body types based on three tissue
layers. The body types got their name from the germ layers of the embryonic development.
According to Sheldon the first body type is called Endomorphy. Endomorphy focuses on
the digestive system (endoderm). This type usually leans toward plumpness. They correspond to
viscerotonia temperament , love luxury, comfort and extravert. The Endomorph's have a love for
food, they are tolerant, have a evenness of emotions, sociable, have good humor, and have a need
for attention. Endomorph’s usually have a round shaped soft body with undeveloped muscles and
a over developed digestive system. They generally have small hands while having larger upper
arm and thighs. A large amount of their mass is located in the abdominal area. This type benefits
in sports where bulk is needed. A sport that needs a large lung capacity. And where they can
increase muscle mass more easily than the other two types.
The second body type is called Mesomorphy. This focuses on the circulatory system
(mesoderm) which has the tendency towards muscularity. It corresponds to being courageous,
having a energetic, active,aggressive, and assertive personality. Mesomorphs are also big risk
takers. They have a hard muscular body with a rectangular shape, a overly mature
appearance, think skin, a upright posture and they grasp the skin on the back of their hands. A
Mesomorph tans or detans easily. The men of this type usually have a “V” shaped for their upper
body and the females usually have an hourglass shape. They are adventurous, competitive, have
a desire to be in control, and indifferent to what others think and want. Types of Mesomorphs
would include triathlons, soccer, rugby and baseball players. They respond very well to
cardiovascular/ resistance training, sustain low body fat, and are dependent on what the sports
need. People in this type can use all the muscle groups to derive positive training. They can eat
without having to worry about...
Cited: Encyclopedia of Psychology. 2 ed. Gale Group, 2001.
Kaziev, Alan M. "Dr William Sheldon 's Somatotypes." The Somatotypes.
17 Aug. 2004. 20 Nov. 2009.
Gado, Mark . "Body shaping the Criminal."
22 Nov. 2009.
"Measuring Somatotype." Fitness training.
9 Nov. 2009. 3 Dec. 2009.
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