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Myers Briggs Type Comparative College Study

Arcticfox13Arcticfox13 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member

For the past few months I have been collecting data from different universities about Myers Briggs type. Five universities are so far included in the data set: University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Brown University and Harvard University. Some other universities, including Northeastern University, University of Maryland and George Washington University did not procure enough data for inclusion. I would love to expand the study to more universities or colleges. If interested, please use the methods below and comment on this post with every Myers Briggs type listed and the number of respondents for each type, and I will format and interpret the information to match the analysis of other universities.

Introduction: Myers Briggs typology is a very popular, albeit disputed as to its scientific validity, way to view some aspects of personality. Myers Briggs is largely an assessment of people prefer to use different sorts of thought processes in the internal and external world. Thinking is, of course, crucial to education, and several studies have investigated the link between type and the sort of student you are. Therefore, it seems to be a particularly helpful instrument for gauging the environment and communities at places of higher education. I have personally found it helpful in quantifying that ephemeral quality of universities and colleges: "fit." Many "gut instincts" and reputations of colleges seem to have a significant foundation in these Myers Briggs analyses, adding some validity to the approach.

1. Information is collected via admitted student facebook group post asking people to comment with their Myers Briggs type. Exact wording has not been consistent. Sometimes a link is included for people to take an online test.
2. At least 75 participants must respond before data can be recorded
3. If a person is unsure and is between two types, they will be recorded as 1/2 in each type
4. If a person is unsure and is between more than two types, their response will not be recorded

Limitations of study:
1. Self-reporting type is inherently flawed, because people may project themselves as the type they want to be rather than one they actually are and/or might have used unofficial online tests to attain results and/or may not have thoroughly verified the results for themselves through self-reflection.
2. The flaws of self-reporting are exaggerated in the context of a Facebook post because some types might be more likely to have a Facebook, respond to a post, respond if they see others of their same type responding and/or respond if they don't see others of their same type responding.
3. The sample size is very small, covering approximately or less than 5% of admitted students in most cases.
4. I am not a psychologist, so all of my conclusions about how types are likely to act are based on informal reading and observation.

Use of study:
1. For the above reasons, the study CANNOT be used in an absolute context. For example, if 60% of respondents are thinkers, that suggests but does not necessarily mean that there are more thinkers than feelers in the overall body of admitted students, let alone that the exact percentage is 60%.
2. Since methods between universities were the same, the study CAN be used in a comparative context. That is, the fact that 60% responded as introverts at one university and 40% responded as introverts at another university suggests that the first university has significantly more introverts, whatever the actual percentage of introverts is.
3. The study CAN be used to gauge whether you are similar to some students at particular university, because at the very least you know there are people of your type or with similar preferences at the university.
4. The study CANNOT be used to determine that you are NOT similar to students at the university, because the sample size is far too small to show whether your type or preferences are common, let alone whether they exist at all. Also, it is highly statistically probable that every university admits students of every type, even if not in equal numbers.
5. The study is BEST used with a firm grasp of the theory and limitations of Myers Briggs typology itself, including the meaning of the individual preferences (I/E, S/N, F/T, P/J) AND how these preferences interact to form type.

Results: posted in comments because this post is too long.

Replies to: Myers Briggs Type Comparative College Study

  • Arcticfox13Arcticfox13 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Dominant types: ISFJ (14%), ESFJ (12%), ISTJ (12%), ISFP (9%), ESTJ (9%)
    % Represented in top three types: 40%
    Dominant Binaries: I (51%), S (74%), F (60%), J (54%)
    Dominant Function: S (38%), F (23%), T (19%), N (15%

    UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO (sample: 79)
    Dominant types: INTJ (29%), INTP (13%), ENFJ (12%), ENFP (12%), INFJ (10%)
    % represented in top three types: 54%
    Dominant Binaries: I (62%), N (95%), T (60%), J (61%)
    Dominant Function: N (56%), T (24%), F (19%), S (1%)
    Conclusions: UChicago admitted students overwhelmingly prefer intuition (ideas, connections, abstraction) over sensing (details, single focus, concreteness), even in contrast to other elite colleges. In fact, intuition is the dominant function for the majority of students, meaning that they trust and rely on intuition more than any other function. All intuitive types are well represented at UChicago. Perceiving types especially will find greater company at UChicago than other elite institutions. An overwhelming number of accepted students are highly intelligent introverts (INTs), but by no means are extroverts concerned with the state of humanity (ENFs) uncommon

    Dominant types: ENTJ (14%), INTJ (14%), ENFJ (12%), INFJ (10%), ENTP (8%)
    % represented in top three types: 40%
    Dominant Binaries: E (56%), N (76%), T (54%), J (71%)
    Dominant Function: N (39%), F (26%), T (24%), S (12%)
    Conclusions: In contrast to many institutions, all types have a place at Penn; Penn has a relatively diverse array of personality types. However, judging and extroverted types are more favored than at other universities. Like most elite institutions, intuition is favored, but sensing types will be in far better company at UPenn than at many other top tier colleges. There is a very large concentration of dreamers-doers (NJs), who become the diverse array of leaders represented in the top 4 types.

    Dominant types: INTJ (21%), ENTJ (19%), INFP (10%), ENFJ (8%), INTP/INFJ/ENFP (7%)
    % represented in top three types: 50%
    Dominant Binaries: I (53%), N (80%), T (59%), J (70%)
    Dominant Function: N (36%), T (32%), F (21%), S (9%)
    Conclusions: Georgetown has a relatively normal distribution of introverts and extroverts when compared to the general population, in contrast to other colleges, which often favor one or the other. Judging types are generally more favored than at other elite institutions. Georgetown students use information-gathering and connection-forming perceiving processes as their dominant function more rarely than at other elite colleges. Instead, rational processes, especially thinking, are preferred. Expect to see a lot of goal-oriented leaders (NTJs) and a surprising number of artistic types (INFPs).

    BROWN UNIVERSITY (sample: 97)
    Dominant types: INTJ (16%), ENFJ (15%), ENFP (15%), INFJ (11%), INTP (10%)
    % represented in top 3 types: 46%
    Dominant Binaries: I (53%), N (83%), F (54%), J (60%)
    Dominant Function: N (45%), F (23%), T (22%), S (8%)
    Conclusion: Brown exhibits a special sort of diversity of personality types: the dominant binaries put together do not form a type even in the top 3, meaning that nearly half of the students with most common types have a trait that is different form the majority of students. Notable is the higher percentage of feeling types as compared to other Ivies and similar schools, closer to the national norm. Expect a large number of people who are extremely interested in other people (EFs), and specifically many interested in the state of humanity at large (ENFs). However, introverts more concerned with logic are by not uncommon (INTs).

    HARVARD UNIVERSITY (sample size: 125)
    Dominant Types: ENTJ (16%), INTJ (15%), ENFP (9%), ENTP (9%), ENFJ (9%)
    % represented in top three types: 40%
    Dominant binaries: E (59%), N (76%), T (62%), J (64%)
    Dominant function: N (38%), T (30%), F (21%), S (11%)
    Conclusion: Harvard is significantly more extroverted and thinking than most elite institutions and intuition is less dominant than elsewhere, meaning that sensing types might find themselves in better company. Overall, there is more diversity in type than most instructions. About half the students rely on rational processes (thinking or feeling), half on perceiving processes (intuition or sensing) as their dominant function. Expect a large concentration of outgoing people with ideas (ENs), making Harvard students likely to be highly engaged with the larger world around them in various ways.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Registered User Posts: 2,989 Senior Member
    Very interesting, love this. A shame NEU didn't have enough data, but for what it's worth I attend and my best friend and I are both INTJ. Not surprised at all that the type dominates universities, though it is interesting by how much even though it is claimed that only 2% or so of people are INTJ's. I'm wondering if:

    A) The number is changing
    B) More INTJ's are drawn to MBTI based on their personality
    C) More INTJ's use the internet, it's a very natural place for said type to end it.

    Regardless, very interesting numbers that I would say appear to be in line with the characters I would expect at each school.

    As there are a lot of similarities, it may be useful to make a shorter version that highlights the differences (Introvert v Extrovert, Thinking v Feeling, etc) and variations from the average percentages/ratios.

    Any reason you did the study?
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,014 Senior Member
    One more flaw:

    Myers-Briggs is a proprietary test and the online version is abbreviated and insufficient.
  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    @marvin100 I know that at most schools in my area, all students are required to take a pen-and-paper, full-length Myers-Briggs test as part of our school's "career services" program, so some of these students likely already knew their type (INFJ here! My school suggested that I look into becoming a librarian or a priest...lol). Obviously not everybody did, and I totally agree with your reasoning. Of course, there is the possibility that people are not being honest, or are judging what their result should be without even taking the online test.
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,475 Senior Member
    Another INTJ here. I'm not sure that I believe that it's as rare as they say in the overall population.
  • dsi411dsi411 Registered User Posts: 2,323 Senior Member
    Every time I take this test, I get a different result. I've been INTJ, ISTJ, and ISFJ.
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,014 Senior Member
    Yeah, my real quibble is that I believe MBTI is a load of hooey, but I guess it's not the most pseudo-science thing going around these days (anti-vaxers and homeopathers: I'm lookin' at you...).
  • Arcticfox13Arcticfox13 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @PengsPhils yes, I have been very frustrated in not being able to gather enough data for any slightly less selective private college and/or state school. When I have tried to post (or have a friend post for colleges I did not apply to), either fewer than 40 have responded or the post was actually taken down by someone (Maryland and now UCLA), perhaps because they do not believe I am an admitted student and think I am just there to conduct the study. I think it would be both interesting to compare these schools to each other and see if state schools, for example, have distinctive personalities or are pretty similar, and it would also be highly interesting to compare type at the highly selective schools to less selective schools and see which is more influential on type distribution: selectivity or just the individual personality of the school. As of now my hypothesis would be that less selective institutions start trending closer to national rates of sensing and possibly feeling, but I have no data to back that up.
    As for the high percentage of INTJ and other rare types, I do not find that strange considering that I would guess most INTJs, known for high intelligence and love of learning, end up at one of the top 50ish colleges in the country and in even greater concentration in the top 20. 2% is a small percent but a large number of people, and they have to go somewhere; that's where they go. Kind of like looking at the wealth distribution in Long Island and concluding that the 1% are not as rare as originally thought.
    I did this study for fun, no other reason, although it did have the incidental effect of convincing me that UChicago is the perfect school for me (I'm an INFJ with extremely strong preference for intuition).

    @marvin100 your opinion is certainly backed by many psychologists, but in my opinion when a model provides information that has a meaningful, real-world context, it is useful. Myers Briggs is like the Bohr model of the atom: totally wrong but accurately predicts some behavior.
  • PengsPhilsPengsPhils Registered User Posts: 2,989 Senior Member
    I like the Bohr atom and tend to agree. It's not science, its for personal development and a perspective of understanding people.

    It appears Brown may be your best fit, what do you think of that?
  • OrchidBloomOrchidBloom Registered User Posts: 910 Member
    Whoaaa I think I actually contributed to your data! Very interesting to see your results :)
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,014 Senior Member
    @PengsPhils -
    It's not science, its for personal development and a perspective of understanding people.

    So...kinda like astrology or tarot cards?
  • Qwerty568Qwerty568 Registered User Posts: 1,212 Senior Member
    @marvin100 The reason I have more faith in Myers-Briggs than say, horoscopes is that it's based on questions that really dig into your personality. It's one thing to say "All cancers are shy" and another to say "Based on your answers to fifty questions on your reactions in different social situations, you are predominantly introverted". I don't know, I thought it was helpful to me, personally, aside from my school's terrible career suggestions!
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,014 Senior Member
    Lots of people feel the same way about astrology. Or tarot cards. Or phrenology (okay, not these days, but not that long ago). Here in Asia, blood type is all the rage. MBTI is a glorified version of "Which Harry Potter Character Are You?" questionnaires. That is to say, a diversion, at best.
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,014 Senior Member
    (that link is broken. Here's a replacement link.)
This discussion has been closed.