Personality and Second Language Learning

Alastair Sharp


This paper examines the relationships which exist between personality and second language learning and adds to the data available on the use of a highly respected personality indicator, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator  (MBTI). Language learning and academic success are both highly correlated with intelligence, but research suggests that the importance of intelligence declines after high school age, partly because of the stronger effects of personality. This study places emphasis on the importance of personality in learning success and examines research evidence on the issue, discussing some of the inconsistent results that have been obtained. A study of 100 Hong Kong university undergraduates was carried out to add to this research base. The instruments used were the MBTI for personality traits, the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (S.I.L.L.) for learning strategies and a standardized test for language proficiency. Significant statistical relationships were not found and the reasons for this are discussed.

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Asian Social Science   ISSN 1911-2017 (Print)   ISSN 1911-2025 (Online)    Email: 

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