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A new attitude
Study examines changing personality types among incoming veterinary students


DVM360 MAGAZINE


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator explained

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator identifies personalities based on four scales. The test is based on psychological theories developed in the 1920s by Carl Jung and expanded in the 1940s by Isabel Myers Briggs and Katharine Cook Briggs. More than 2 million people take the test annually, according to the Myers & Briggs Foundation. Descriptions are available for each scale trait and for personality types as a whole, which represent the sum of all the traits.

The first scale reveals how one feels about the world around them by marking an individual an (E) extrovert or (I) introvert.

The second scale describes preferences for gathering data and perceiving the outside world and includes (S) sensors who rely on practical information that can be sensed, and (N) intuitors, who rely of abstracts and possibilities. The third scale identifies decision-making styles and includes (T) thinking types who rely on logic and objectivity, and (F) feeling types, who are more subjective and rely more heavily on personal values.

E and S types for the first two scales make up about 75 percent of the population in general, while the third scale is split, with 60 percent of general population men in the T category and 65 percent of women in the F category.

Finally, the fourth scale identifies how people respond to others. (J) Judging types like to be organized and in control, while (P) perceiving types are spontaneous and adaptive. About 60 percent of the general population is described as judging.

These data were collected from incoming Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine students over 12 years, from 1996 to 2007, they reveal a profile much different than the national "norm," but similar to students entering human medicine.

For example, nationally, the top personality types are ISFJ (13.8 percent), ESFJ (12.3 percent), ISTJ (11.6 percent) and ISFP (8.8 percent). Over the last 12 years, the top veterinary student personalities have been ISTJ (15.8 percent), ESTJ (12.8 percent) and ESFJ (7 percent).

The thinking preference is dominant for men in veterinary schools versus the feeling preference for women. Other patterns observed in the study are that ESTF and ISTF types dominate veterinary school from 1996 to 2003, when both seems to decrease at equal rates; and that profiles became more different from one another in the last four years of data collection.

For example, from 2004 to 2007, the previously top veterinary student personality type of ISTJ took a back seat, coming in third place for women and second place for men. The top personality types for female veterinary students over the last four years were ESTJ, ESFJ, ISTJ and ISFJ. For men, the top types were ESTP, ESTJ, INTP and ISTJ.

Additionally, the highest grade point averages during that period were found among INTJ types, which scored "significantly" higher, according to the study, INTJ is the cumulative top personality type among veterinary students over 12 years, but fell to the eighth most common type for women and the sixth most common type for men over the last four years of the study.


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Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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