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Somatotypes



1919 G Viola

  • took 10 measurements of the body and compared the individual to a group average
  • he differentiated 3 body types

1925 E Kretschmer –

  • described 3 body types and linked them to psychiatric problems
  1. Pyknic - broad, fat, round and sturdy, often become manic depressives
  2. Leptosomic - long and thin,slender limbs,anaemic personality.
  3. Athletic - large and muscular thorax and shoulders, often are schizophrenic
His work became disused as it assumes 3 discrete types when in reality he had defined 3 extremes of groups

1940 Sheldon –

 tried to link body type to personality and disease.
  • Extreme Endomorphy
o   spherical body,
o   weak and fatty arms and thighs.
o   Slim wrists and ankles.
o   The thoracic and pelvic part of the skeleton is greater in the anteroposterior than in the transverse direction.
o   The word endomorphy is derived from endoderm, the embryonic layer from which the digestive system develops.
o   Susceptible to depression and diabetes.
  • Extreme Mesomorphy
o   Ex: The classical Hercules.
o    Broad shoulders and chest.
o    Muscled arms and legs.
o   The word mesomorphy is derived from mesoderm, the embryonic layer from which the muscle and bone develops.
o   Susceptible to paranoia, hysteria and coronary heart disease.
  • Extreme Ectomorphy
o    A Linear man, spindly limbs.
o   Narrow chest and abdomen.
o   Little muscle and little fat.
o   ectomorphy is derived from ectoderm, the embryonic layer from which the skin and nervous system develops.
o   Susceptible to anxiety, schizophrenia and pulmonary tuberculosis.

This technique was based on assessment of each component by visual observation of photographs.
Each component is rated on a scale of 1 - 7 and this is used to give a 3 digit somatotype.
most common somatotypes are 344, 433 or 352
He stated that not all parts of the body will show the same characteristics, this difference is called dysplasia.This method is no-longer used as the use of photographs to evaluate somatotype is too subjective

1968 Heath & Carter

  • Built on sheldon’s model
  • idea of endomorphy, mesomorphy and ectomorphy is retained
  • included anthropometric procedures along with photographic analysis to estimate the "present morphological configuration."
  • This is the method most commonly used today
  • They developed the Heath-Carter chart, used to determine somatotype given the anthropometric data.


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