Personality and Participation: Who Volunteers to Participate in Studies


This work examines the influence of personality factors on willingness to participate in studies. Participants were recruited either via a market research firm or via a face-to-face interception technique. In addition to completing their required tasks, all 256 participants subsequently completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The type distributions from the market research task and the interception task were compared to that of the normative United State National Representative Sample (US NRS). Personality type distributions from the market research recruited participants and the interception recruited participants were found to be significantly different to the US NRS. Further, all over-represented personality types were either Intuitive-Feeling (NF) or Intuitive-Thinking types (NT) and so shared the common trait of “Intuition” whereas all underrepresented types shared the opposing trait of “Sensing” and were either Sensing-Thinking (SN) or Sensing-Feeling (NF) types. Results suggest that personality factors affect a person’s decision to participate in a study. Importantly, since personality type has not usually been part of selection criteria in past studies it may be that a systematic non-response bias may unknowingly have always existed. The implications of such a bias on the true state of knowledge regarding human behavior are potentially profound.

Share and Cite:

Saliba, A. and Ostojic, P. (2014) Personality and Participation: Who Volunteers to Participate in Studies. Psychology, 5, 230-243. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.53034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Almeida, L., Falcao, A., Coelho, R., Albino-Teixeira, A., & Soares-da-Silva, P. (2008). The Role of Socioeconomic Conditions and Psychological Factors in the Willingness to Volunteer for Phase I Studies. Pharmaceutical Medicine, 22, 367-374.
[2] Berger, L. K., Begun, A. L., & Otto-Salaj, L. L. (2009). Participant Recruitment in Intervention Research: Scientific Integrity and Cost-Effective Strategies. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 12, 79-92.
[3] Groves, R. M. (2006). Nonresponse Rates and Nonresponse Bias in Household Surveys. Public Opinion Quarterly, 70, 646-675.
[4] Groves, R. M., Singer, E., & Corning, A. (2000). Leverage-Saliency Theory of Survey Participation: Description and an Illustration. The Public Opinion Quarterly, 64, 299-308.
[5] Hansen, M. H., & Hurwitz, W. N. (1946). The Problem of Non-Response in Sample Surveys. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 41, 517-529.
[6] Hattie, J. (1983). The Tendency to Omit Items: Another Deviant Response Characteristic. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 43, 1041-1045.
[7] Hicks, L. E. (1984). Conceptual and Empirical Analysis of Some Assumptions of an Explicitly Typological Theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 46, 1118-1131.
[8] Hulley, S. B., Cummings, S. R., Browner, W. S., Grady, D. G., & Newman, T. B. (2013). Designing Clinical Research: An Epidemiologic Approach (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
[9] Klesges, R. C., Williamson, J. E., Somes, G. W., Talcott, G. W., Lando, H. A., & Haddock, C. K. (1999). A Population Comparison of Participants and Nonparticipants in a Health Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 89, 1228-1231.
[10] Lang, F. R., John, D., Lüdtke, O., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. G. (2011). Short Assessment of the Big Five: Robust across Survey Methods except Telephone Interviewing. Behavior Research Methods, 43, 548-567.
[11] Lee, S., Brown, E. R., Grant, D., Belin, T. R., & Brick, J. M. (2009). Exploring Nonresponse Bias in a Health Survey Using Neighborhood Characteristics. American Journal of Public Health, 99, 1811-1817.
[12] Lubin, B., Levitt, E. E., & Zuckerman, M. (1962). Some Personality Differences between Responders and Nonresponders to a Survey Questionnaire. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 26, 192.
[13] Marcus, B., & Schütz, A. (2005). Who Are the People Reluctant to Participate in Research? Personality Correlates of Four Different Types of Nonresponse as Inferred from Self- and Observer Ratings. Journal of Personality, 73, 959-984.
[14] McCrae, R. R., & Costa Jr., P. T. (1997). Personality Trait Structure as a Human Universal. American Psychologist, 52, 509-516.
[15] Mitchell, W. (2000). Cautions Regarding Aggregated Data Analyses in Type Research. Journal of Psychological Type, 53, 19-30.
[16] Myers, I. B., McCaulley, M. H., Quenk, N. L., & Hammer, A. L. (1998). The MBTI® Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Palo Alto: Consulting Psychologists Press.
[17] Pittenger, D. J. (2005). Cautionary Comments Regarding the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 57, 210.
[18] Rogelberg, S. G., Conway, J. M., Sederburg, M. E., Spitzmüller, C., Aziz, S., & Knight, W. E. (2003). Profiling Active and Passive Nonrespondents to an Organizational Survey. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 1104.
[19] Rogelberg, S. G., & Luong, A. (1998). Nonresponse to Mailed Surveys: A Review and Guide. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7, 60-65.
[20] Saucier, G. (1994). Mini-Markers: A brief Version of Goldberg’s Unipolar Big-Five Markers. Journal of Personality Assessment, 63, 506-516.
[21] Schrapler, J., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. (2010). Individual and Neighborhood Determinants of Survey Nonresponse: Technical Report.
[22] Scott, J. (2000). Rational Choice Theory. In G. Browning, A. Halcli, & F. Webster (Eds.), Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present (pp. 126-138). London: Sage Publications.
[23] Smith, M., & Senior, C. (2001). The Internet and Clinical Psychology: A General Review of the Implications. Clinical Psychology Review, 21, 129-136.
[24] Zumbo, B. D., & Taylor, S. V. (1993). The Construct Validity of the Extraversion Subscales of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne des Sciences du Comportement, 25, 590-604.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.