Monday, August 6, 2007

Reading Challenge X

Okay, sparked by Greg Mankiw, I read this study ($$) on personality types and performance in introductory economics. (Abstract here.)
Abstract: This paper explores the relationship between student's personality types, as measured by the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and their performance in introductory economics.

We find that students with the personality types ENTP, ESTP, and ENFP do significantly worse in Principles of Macroeconomics than identical students with the personality type ISTJ. We also find that introverted students earn significantly better grades than identical extroverted students. When we include the temperament variables described in the work of Kiersey and Bates (1984) in our model, we find that NT and NF students perform significantly worse in Principles of Macroeconomics than their SJ counterparts. We also find that a student whose temperament type matches the class instructor's temperament does significantly better in the class than a student whose temperament type does not match the instructor's.

We believe this provides evidence of the importance of matching a student's learning style with a professor's teaching style. In conclusion, we discuss many options for improving instruction in the introductory economics course by offering a variety of different teaching and grading strategies that will better accommodate our students' diverse personality types and learning styles.

Commentary: Another overlong abstract. Moving on.

The crucial thing to know about this study is that it is based on 119 students and 3 professors. As such, I would be extremely hesitant to generalize their results to any degree. Were, of course, I not already extremely dubious of the concept of slotting people in to certain personality types. I was also disappointed not to remember just how ordered probit extracts those gains compared to simple probit.

Regardless, according to the study, the person who aces macro 101 has preferences as follows: introversion, not extroversion; sensing, not intuition; thinking, not feeling; and judgement, not perception. Or, in the shorthand, ISTJ.

As the authors point out, an introductory course is not quite equivalent to plowing through, say, Romer, in the last undergrad macro course. As such, ISTJ may not be optimal for an economist.

Disclosure: I am an INTJ, impliying I prefer intuition, not sensing, in comparison to ISTJ.

1 comment:

Carlos del Carpio said...

"The crucial thing to know about this study is that it is based on 119 students and 3 professors. As such, I would be extremely hesitant to generalize their results to any degree."

Good. You're already thinking like an economist!