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J Educ Health Promot. 2019 Nov 29;8:236. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_447_18. eCollection 2019.

Personality types and intercultural competence of foreign language learners in education context.

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Department of General Studies, Islamic Azad University, Ardestan Branch, Ardestan, Iran.



Personality types of learners have determining role in their achievements. Many researchers concentrate on noncognitive moderators such as personality traits to trace the barriers in learning. This study attempts to find out what kinds of personality types enable learners to be more competent in intercultural context.


To conduct the study 236 students were randomly selected from Ardestan and Khorasgan Universities. Two questionnaires were used to collect the data. The first one was a researcher's made questionnaire to assess learners' intercultural competence; based on Bennett's Intercultural communicative Model of intercultural communicative competence (ICC); and intercultural competence assessment Model of ICC, consisting four behavioral dimensions, tolerance for ambiguity, flexibility, respect for otherness, and interaction. The second questionnaire wasMyers-Briggs Type Indicator to identify learner's personality type. The means, standard deviations, t-scores, and significance levels of behavioral dimensions were calculated to interpret the data.


The analysis of the results revealed that greater general competence in cultural adjustment is associated with greater extroversion personality. Students with thinking and judging personalities were more tolerant for ambiguities of foreign cultures than those with feeling and perceiving personality types. The data of respect for otherness were very similar to tolerance for ambiguity, and students with sensing personality preference were more competent in interacting with foreign cultures than intuitive ones.


The findings indicated the personality types play opportunity or threat roles for FL learners in intercultural understanding. Therefore, to promote efficiency in education, it is vital to explore the learners' cognitive and noncognitive health conditions.


Culture; individual differences; intercultural competence; personality

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