Personality types of otolaryngology resident applicants as described by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 May;144(5):714-8. doi: 10.1177/0194599810397793.


Objective: To assess the personality types of applicants to a single otolaryngology residency program using the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator. The personality types were compared with those of the general population and with physicians in other medical specialties.

Study design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: University hospital.

Subjects and methods: A personality survey was emailed to 327 resident physician applicants over 2 consecutive years (2008- 2009). Analysis was accomplished by calculating prevalence estimates.

Results: Of the 327 anonymous surveys, 137 were completed (response rate = 42%). The Introverted/Sensing/Thinking/ Judging personality type was the most prevalent (14.6%), representing 13% of the general population. Prospective applicants displayed mostly Extroverted (E; 58%), Sensing (S; 54%), Thinking (T; 62%), and Judging (J; 61%) personality traits. Of the 16 personality types, statistically significant differences were found between otolaryngology resident applicants and the general population only for the Extroverted/Sensing/Thinking/ Perceiving (P = .002) personality type after correcting for multiple comparisons. The Intuitive (N; 46%) and Feeling (F; 38%) types correlated closely with the reported personality types of those individuals in non–primary care specialties, 47% and 28%, respectively. Extroverted (E) and Thinking (T) individuals appeared to prefer surgical specialties, which occurred in 58% and 62% of the applicants, respectively. There were no significant differences between male and female applicants.

Conclusion: This study examines the personality types of medical students applying to an otolaryngology residency. The results support a highly structured, data-driven teaching preference among applicants. These results may allow for a better understanding of the personalities of medical students who are interested in otolaryngology.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Job Application
  • Male
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Personality / classification*
  • Personality Inventory*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*