An investigation of the relationship between psychologist personality and theoretical orientation

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Zimostrad, Scott William
Nicholas, Donald R.
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The purpose of this correlational study was to determine if specific personality characteristics existed between groups of psychologists who identified themselves as operating within behavioral (N = 14) or psychoanalytic (N = 13) theoretical principles.Previous studies of this nature have resulted in mixed findings regarding Personality-theory relationships. Major weaknesses in these studies were found to include the use of theoretically immature psychologist-subjects, poor deliniation of subject theoretical orientation and one-sided (i.e. continuous or categorical) treatment of Myers-Briggs type Indicator data. The present study attempted to improve on these three weaknesses in order to provide stronger evidence for theory-Personality relationships.The subjects in the present study were randomly selected from two theoretically oriented professional directories. All of the subjects held doctorates in psychology for at least two years. The settings from which the subjects were drawn varied widely while the study itself was conducted from a midwestern university of approximately 19,000 students.Subject personality variables were measured using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - MBTI (Form G). A Theoretical Orientation Form was developed to assess the psychological theory from which subjects operated. This form required subjects to 1) endorse theoretically-bound techniques in response to case vignettes, and 2) endorse one of two labels of theoretical orientation. Only those subjects who endorsed all the vignettes and the respective label were included in the experimental group.Four null hypotheses were posed for those subjects meeting criteria: 1) no statisticallysignificant (p. <.05) differences would be found between groups (beavioral versus psycholanalytic) on the MBTI measure of extraversion - introversion, 2) no statistically significant differences would be found between these groups on the MBTI measure of sensing-intuition, 3) no statistically different differences would be found between these two groups on the MBTI measure of thinking-feeling, and 4). no statistically different differences would be found between these two groups on the MBTI measure of judgement-perception.Continuous scores of those subjects meeting criteria were examined via desriptive and inferential statistical procedures. Beyond the more common descriptive findings (i.e., means and standard deviations) the use of multidimensional scaling allowed for appreciation of both the categorical and continuous properties of the MBTI data.The data was also subjected to a MANOVA which yielded both multivariate and univariate F tests. The multivariate F (2,27) = p. < .10 allowed for further analysis with univariate F tests. A significant difference was found on only the third test of group comparisons on the thinking feeling dimension where F (2,27) = p..025.The analysis desribed above allowed for rejection of only the third null hypothesis which questioned group differences on the thinking-feeling dimension. In this group of psychologists, behaviorists were much more likely to prefer the thinking mode of judgement while psychoanalytic psychologists showed definite preference for the feeling dimension. This finding is supported by previous research as well.A secondary finding of the present study was that the perceptive process of intuition did not prove do be as important to this sample of psychologists as previous writers would contend. Although the presence of the intuitive preference was found in the majority of the subjects, its level of importance was of an auxiliary nature to most of these individuals.