Background & Introduction. I've long fantacized about having free access to CAPT's inventory administration services so I could set up a booth at various sporting or outdoor recreation shows to discover the MBTI ® personality types of the devotees of various pursuits. My assumption has been - as it is with many kinds of careers - that birds of feather flock together in their choice of leisure time activities.
When I can tear myself away from the computer, web authoring and writing, I love to be in the out of doors -hiking, camping, canoeing, exploring. A few years ago, I decided to bring this affection for the outside . . . inside, so-to-speak, by creating an online travel journal called SuperiorTrails.com. Prior to that I had created an online publication (PersonalityPathways.com) from another one of my pre-occupations, Personality or Psychological Type. The result was two online bookends of quite different enjoyments. Eventually I would find a way to join these bookends: the Cognitive Style Inventory.
The Cognitive Style Inventory (CSI). When I first began Pathways, it was a few web pages involving a simple introduction to type with a companion self-scoring inventory designed to serve as a type verifying instrument. I used the website exclusively with my coaching clients to supplement my face-face meetings on personality typing and whatever career related issue was the reason we were together. Over time I refined the type verifying inventory, gave it a name (Cognitive Style Inventory), and released it to the general public and other type practitioners as a type verifying or MBTI introduction tool. I periodically refine the inventory. I never intended it to be a replacement for the MBTI® nor did I consider it a serious research instrument. But things have a funny way of evolving into unintended directions!
The Current Study. A while ago I had an inspiration to experiment with using the CSI as an online research tool to explore what might the relationship of Type and some of my favorite life sports/leisure time pursuits. It would be a bridge between these two disparate interests of mine & I thought it would be fun and interesting. So I launched an ongoing study (go here for more background info on the study). Since that time results continue to pour in on a daily basis. My plan has been to do an occasional update and these are published at www.superiortrails.com/research-summary.html. This article is drawn from a subset of those results plus some data from yet to be published updates. In addition to the overall results I present some interesting findings on hiking and overnight backpacking. How similar or dissimilar are these enthusiasts from the general population? How does type impact one's choice of leisure time activities?
I've outlined caveats to interpretting these results elsewhere. Despite the flaws in the research design, as more results come in and patterns persist, I feel more comfortable with taking more serious whatever trends emerge.
General Data. Table 1. is a type distribution of all people who have participated. Theoretically, all of these people have at least some interest in outdoor recreational pursuits . . . as it was those interests we solicited. However, a small percentage of those who replied were not *outdoors types* - having somehow missed the factoid that interest in these pursuits were the object of our study. These unsolicited volunteers were not numerous enough to alter the trends of the data.
I also computed Type Distribution Ratios against two sets of benchmark norms. The first benchmark was the 2004 type composition of membership in APT (The primary professional organization of users of personality type). I used this standard to help adjust for the fact that certain types are by nature more likely to take an inventory of personality than other types (INFP vs ISTP for example). Thus the APT membership would help compensate for this bias. The second benchmark was the data set customarily used with Type Distribution Ratios - data from the general population. I used the data reported by Hammer and Mitchell in the Journal of Psychological Type, Volume 37, 1996. Table 2. shows the ratio computed by averaging the results from the two bench mark samples - thus attempting to correct for type distribution in the general population and for interest in personality type.