Friday, September 14, 2012

Scientist personality types

Today is Friday, so as you might expect my mind is on the weekend and I don't have the desire to write too in-depth on anything. However, I wanted to make some quick notes about a train of thought I've had recently concerning the types of people who pursue science.

We often stereotype scientists as introverted individuals who tinker away in labs or on computers and who are awkward in social settings. This stereotype has the unintended consequence as portraying all scientists as the same type of person. My experience in graduate school has taught me differently. Scientists engender many different personalities, from brash and confident individuals to shy introverts to downright strange people. As we might expect, each personality type benefits science in a different way.

What are the common personality types in science and what is their impact? My question is motivated partly by the thesis in Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner. I have not read it, though I feel I that I have an idea of what his thesis entails.

I also wonder how a personality type might be better matched to a career field before they enter a career path. I suppose this is the work of many guidance counselors and career service offices across the country, but I feel that information provided by these services about some career fields, in particular scientific careers, is simply lacking.