How Personality Plays a Part in Our Choices
Sponsored by Missouri Western State University Sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation DUE-97-51113
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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
MCGINNESS, M. C. (2005). How Personality Plays a Part in Our Choices. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 8. Available online at Retrieved April 25, 2017 .

How Personality Plays a Part in Our Choices

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (
The purpose of this research was to investigate the predictability of choices based on gender and on an introversion/extroversion rating. The research did show that gender has an affect on the extroversion inventory score as well as showing a relation between extroverted females and a specific choice.

The concept of personality and its effects on human behavior is far from a new idea. According to Spato (1995), Carl Jung’s theory of typology was the forerunner to a lot of research in the area of personality and was instrumental in the research and development of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The type indicator has been widely used by scientists and the non-psychiatric population in the area of personality types and how those types influence preferences. The MBIT has been used to understand what motivates an individual, what careers one might best be suited for and how learning and teaching might be affected. According to David Kersey (1998) we owe Isabel Meyers a debt of gratitude for taking the useful parts of Jung’s theories and making them into a useful personality inventory. Kersey went on to develop the Temperament Sorter, based on his theory of temperaments, character and intelligence. His theory includes the idea that there are two sides to personality one being temperament and the other character. Character is disposition and temperament is pre-disposition. Over the years there has been much research on personality types and the affects they have on our behavior and thinking. Balkis, M. (2005) looked at the relationship between thinking styles and personality types. His theory includes 13 thinking styles. His research not only found there to be a correlation between thinking styles and personality but also a correlation between gender and thinking styles. In another study conducted by David and Feldhusen (1999) they found a positive correlation between thinking styles and the personality attributes of introversion and extroversion. The purpose of this study was to determine if predictions of choices can be made based on personality traits and more specifically those traits of introversion and extroversion. Also, the study looked at what part, if any, gender plays a role.


Participants The data collected for this project consisted of a total of 95 undergraduate students attending introductory level psychology, intermediate level psychology, and intermediate level criminal justice classes, at Missouri Western State University. Of those surveyed 22 were males and 73 were females.

Material The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire consisting of 20 questions taken from David Kersey’s introversion/extroversion indicators. (see Appendix) Two trays of cookies, one tray consisted of plain sugar cookies and one tray of iced and decorated sugar cookies.

Procedure An informed consent of participation was announced to the class before testing began. Anonymity was guaranteed to the participants but was told a number would be entered on the back of their questionnaire as it was returned to researcher. Some deception was necessary as the actual entry on the back of the questionnaire was a notation as to which type cookie was chosen. A “P” was entered to denote the choice of a plain sugar cookie; “X” denoted decorated sugar cookie and “0” to denote participants who chose not to take a cookie. Participants were told the cookies were a thank you for their participation. Participants were also told, in order to avoid participant bias, the actual research topic would be divulged at the Interdisciplinary Research presentation at a future date. The participants were given the option of extra credit for participation in the research or a different extra credit for the same amount of points. Each person choosing to participate was given the questionnaire, asked to complete it, return questionnaire to the researcher, sign an extra credit sign-up sheet and take a cookie.

Results A 3 (cookie choice) x 2 (introversion/extroversion between-subjects factorial ANOVA was calculated comparing the e-scores (extroversion inventory score) of the participants. A significant main effect for gender was found (F(2,1,2) = 3.794, p=.05 for the e-score. Male participants showed a significantly higher average e-score (m=7.6, sd = 2.753). There was also a significant main effect for whether or not the participants took a cookie (F,2) = .049, p>.05. Participants who made the choice of taking no cookie showed a higher average e-score (m=7.42, sd = 2.70). The choice between types of cookies showed no significance.


The results of this research showed a main effect for sex. Male participants showed a significance level equal to .05 for extroversion inventory score. There was no significance for either male or female participants in relation to the type of cookie chosen. The results were quite different from what was expected in the original hypothesis. Originally it was believed that those participants having the higher than average extroversion inventory scores would choose the frosted sugar cookie. However, as stated before, the choice of cookie was not significant. Overall males scored higher than females on the extroversion inventory score no matter the choice of cookie. Females who chose to take a cookie had a lower than average extroversion inventory score of 6.200, than those females who chose to have no cookie. Because of earlier research Balkis (2005), there was an expectation of some significant finding for a correlation between introversion /extroversion and thinking styles, which to some degree was realized. However, the expectation of participant having the higher than average extroversion inventory score choosing the frosted cookie was not. The result of the female participants with the higher extroversion inventory score being more likely not to chose a cookie m=7.4211, was not expected. It is believed the participants with a lower than average extroversion inventory score may have chosen to take a cookie because of their characteristic behavior of being compliant. Because participants were told to choose a cookie for a thank you they may have felt that compliance was expected. Another characteristic behavior may have been the ideal of not wanted to stand out from all the others who were choosing to take a cookie no matter the type. Because an introvert might have felt under stress by the fact the researcher was present during their sign-in for extra credit, personally taking their survey sheet they may have sought comfort resulting in their choosing to take a cookie. One would also need to consider the qualities of an extrovert and look at reason why they would or would not chose to take a cookie. In future research a more equal distribution of male and female participants quite possibly would have produced a different result. Also, future research should include some health issue survey questions, for example: questions concerning diabetes, diet, allergies etc. Questions concerning body image might be another issue to include. Conducting all surveys at a fixed time rather than random time periods might also have an impact on the outcome.

ReferencesBalkis, M. (2005). The Relationship Between Thinking Styles and Personality types. Social Behavior & Personality, 33,283-295David, Y. & Feldhusen, J. (1999). A Validation Study of the Thinking Styles Inventory Implications for Gifted Education. Roeper Review, 21,302-308Keirsey, D. (1998) Please Understand Me II. Del Mar, California: Prometheus Nemesis Book CompanySpato, A. (1995) Jung’s Typology in Perspective. Wilmette, Illinois, Chiron Publications

____ 1. Are you a) female b) male

____ 2. When the phone rings do you a) hurry to get to it first b) hope someone else will answer

____ 3. Are you more interested in a) what is actual b) what is possible

____ 4. Waiting in line, do you often a) chat with others b) stick to business

____ 5. Would you say you are more a) serious and determined b) easy going

____ 6. At a party, do you a) interact with many, even strangers b) interact with a few friends

____ 7. in most situations are you more a) deliberate than spontaneous b) spontaneous than deliberate

____ 8. Does interacting with strangers a) energize you b) tax your reserve

____ 9. Do you tend to a) say what’s on your mind b) keep your ears open

____ 10. Are you the kind of person a) rather talkative b) doesn’t miss much

____ 11. Are you swayed more by a) convincing evidence b) a touching appeal

____ 12. At work do you tend to a) be sociable with your colleagues b) keep more to yourself

____ 13. Do you see yourself as basically a) thick-skinned b) thin-skinned

____ 14. Do you consider yourself a) a good conversationalist b) a good listener

____ 15. Do you usually want things a) settled and decided b) just penciled in

____ 16. Are you inclined to be a) easy to approach b) somewhat reserved

____ 17. Do you prefer to work a) to deadlines b) just whenever

____ 18. Do you think of yourself as a) an outgoing person b) a private person

____ 19. Do you tend to choose a) rather carefully b) somewhat impulsively

____ 20. Is it preferable mostly to a) make sure things are arranged b) just let things happen

Submitted 12/8/2005 11:24:28 AM
Last Edited 12/8/2005 11:38:18 AM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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