Second Life users are much more analytical and intuitive than the US average as measured on the MBTI scale, according to a new academic study from Athabasca University. Specifically, as author and MA graduate Nancy Tavares-Jones explains to me, among Second Life users "there was a statistical significant difference (or over-representation) of Thinking over Feelers and Intuitive versus Sensing." (You can see these differences in the chart above.) "The difference was enormous," she adds. "It was significant to the 0.001 level, meaning there is less than 0.1% chance that the results were acquired by chance." In each variable, the differences are 20% or higher.
The data was compiled through voluntary MBTI tests taken by Second Life users, which New World Notes helped promote last year, which were then compared to MBTI personality averages in the United States. (She chose the US average as a comparison point because most SLers who took the test are American, she tells me.)
In case you're not familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, here's what these dichotomies mean, as the report author explains:
"Thinking (makes logical decisions) vs. Feeling (makes value-based decisions) Sensing (prefers to use their five senses) vs. Intuition (prefers gut feelings/theories)." Again, when taking the MBTI test, Second Life users were much more likely to answer questions that put them in the Thinking and Intuition categories, compared to the US average.
Tavares-Jones suggests some practical applications to these results: "These findings could help educators who do workshops/activities in Second Life (create activities/word activities that engage Thinkers and Intuitive), and mental health practitioners who see individuals with online addictions (i.e. how do we engage Thinkers and Intuitive to get off of computers and into more healthy environments)?"
Personally, I suspect an even broader conclusion is suggested here: People in user-created online worlds in general are more likely to be analytic and intuitive than average. Because my guess is you'd find similar differences among users of, say, Minecraft, or even non-virtual world user-generated content platforms like Deviant Art. But that of course will take more research from folks like Nancy Tavares-Jones.
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