MBTI and Gender: A Personality Divide

MBTI and Gender

2/23/2007

Kenneth Burchfiel

Stereotypes between male and female students regarding personality are plentiful, to say the least; girls are usually seen as quiet, sensible, logical and deadline-minded, while boys are pictured as loud, daydreaming, emotional and free-spirited. Such stereotypes can be hard to dislodge, simply because there are few ways to effectively research the subject. Personality, while certainly not a concealed or faint trait in any way, can be hard to analyze; unlike test scores, IQ numbers, and statistical information, one’s persona is a qualitative, not quantitative, asset, meaning analysis often involves more than numbers alone.

One method of examining differences in personality between gender is the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, or MBTI. The test, known as the standard for evaluating personality types, determines a user’s personality based on four different categories. By analyzing the percentage of males and females who belong to each category, a general sense of each gender’s personality can be attained.

EXTROVERSION VS. INTROVERSION. This is considered the test’s most important category; extroverts are sociable and passionate about the world around them, while introverts enjoy time alone and are passionate about inner beliefs, ideas, and opinions. Though boys are often considered louder and more talkative than their female classmates, the results of the MBTI test say otherwise. According to the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT), a majority of males (50-55 percent) are introverted. Thus, while the actions of a few extroverted males may be enough to sway opinions otherwise, the majority of male students are quiet and reflective.

SENSING VS. INTUITION. Sensing people prefer to work with facts, care more about the present than the future, and rely on their memory to make sense of a situation. Intuitive people prefer theoretical information, often think about the future, and are known to improvise and daydream. A great majority of both males and females are sensors; only about a quarter of the population belong to the intuitive category. Out of those who are intuitive, however, the majority are males; thus, while most boys and girls rely more on facts and their memory as opposed to theory and improvisation, males make up most of the intuitive category.

THINKING VS. FEELING. These two categories do not measure intelligence; rather, they separate people based on how each category resolves situations. Thinkers take a logical approach to problem solving and are less likely to sugarcoat the truth; Feelers often make decisions based on emotions and shy away from conflict. While females are often stereotyped as more logical and analytical than men, only about 30 percent belong to the Thinking category; the majority, by far, are feelers. Most men, however, are Thinkers; only about 40 percent have a feeling persona.

JUDGING VS. PERCEIVING Judging types are planners at heart; they perform best when using outlines, deadlines, and consistent routines. Perceivers, in contrast, feel comfortable beginning tasks without prior planning; they find routines to be dull and thrive on variety. In this case, the stereotype that females prefer routines, plans and outlines is largely justified; the majority fall into the judging category. It may come as a surprise, however, that the majority of boys (about 52-58 percent) are judging types as well. Males are usually pictured as laughing off deadlines, avoiding outlines, and doing things at the last minute. According to the MBTI test, such a stereotype is incorrect.

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