ACU students have become more idealistic and people-oriented in recent years, according to freshman personality testing. But a new study shows speech pathology students are moving in the opposite direction.
Dr. Terry Baggs, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, has compared the personality types of about 300 communication disorders students from several universities, including ACU, between 2006-2009. He compared his results with those of a similar study conducted 30 years ago. The contrast was stark.
Both studies used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to evaluate the personalities of communication disorder students. This indicator identifies four opposite pairs of personality traits, according to www.myersbriggs.org.
The test identified 62 percent of speech therapy students as Judging, Sensing and Feeling, or JSF, signifying a more detail-focused and task-oriented personality, Baggs said. Thirty years ago, the majority of students were Intuitive and Feeling, or NFs, meaning they were people-persons driven by values and possibilities.
“Students have moved to Sensing and Judging personality types, and dramatically so,” Baggs said.
Both SF and NF personalities want to help people but in different ways, said Career Counselor Rachel Phillips-Buck. While NFs empower others and make them feel better, SFs like to help people in more quantifiable ways that can be checked off a list.
This shift from NF to SF is contrary to the movement of the student body as a whole, Phillips-Buck said. She believes ACU’s values and philosophical ideas have attracted more and more big-picture, people-oriented NF students.
NF personalities make up only four of the 16 possible Myers-Briggs personality types, yet they represented more than 48 percent of incoming students in 2007, Phillips-Buck said. This ratio of NFs is more than double the national average.
This divergence from the historic norm may be explained by a change in the demands of speech therapy, said Dee Kirby, clinic coordinator and assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders.
“We’ve moved into where we need to be more accountable in what we do,” Kirby said. “It wasn’t like that back when I started.”
But this change has surprised Baggs, who said he believed the challenges of speech therapy today require NFs capacity for spontaneity and creative thinking. He noted almost all of the 16 personality types were represented in communication disorders students.
“There is no ‘better’ personality type,” Baggs said. “They can excel with the personality traits they have by utilizing them.”
|The four Myers-Briggs areas of personality preferences|
|Favorite world: Where do you get energy?|
|Extraversion (E): From the outer world of people and things.||Introversion (I): From your inner world of ideas and images|
|Information: How do you learn?|
|Sensing (S): By paying attention to what comes in through your five senses.||Intuition (N): By paying attention to the patterns and possibilities you see in the information|
|Decisions: How do you decide things?|
|Thinking (T): By first looking at logic and consistency.||Feeling (F): By first looking at the people and special circumstances|
|Structure: How do you deal with the outside world?|
|Judging (J): With a more structured and decided lifestyle.||Perceiving (P): With a more flexible and adaptable lifestyle|
This information was taken from www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics.
Students can find more information about how to discover their personality type through the D!scovery Program at www.acu.edu/campusoffices/careercenter.