Introverts in the Cathedral

A press release from Glyndwr University just before Christmas drew attention to the publication of some results of a Glyndwr research team into the application of Jungian psychological type theory to profile the visitors to two Anglican cathedrals.

Psychological type theory offers a fourfold psychographic segmentation of a sample, distinguishing between introversion and extraversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving.

The research is reported in full in Leslie Francis, Simon Mansfield, Emyr Williams and Andrew Village, ‘Applying Psychological Type Theory to Cathedral Visitors: A Case Study of Two Cathedrals in England and Wales’, Visitor Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2010, pp. 175-86. This is a subscription only journal published by Routledge.

157 visitors to Chester Cathedral and 381 to St Davids Cathedral were asked a series of questions about their personality profiles and how those profiles related to their visitor experiences. In particular, the research team measured how active, private or sociable the visitors were, and to what extent they were energized by other people.

The principal conclusion was that, relative to population norms, extraverts and perceivers were significantly under-represented among visitors to these two cathedrals. The venues also appealed more to sensers than intuitives but drew equal proportions of thinkers and feelers.

The researchers hope their findings will help tourism managers at both cathedrals to maximize the visitor experiences of those already drawn to these heritage sites and to discover ways of attracting more extraverts and more perceivers to explore them.

The foregoing summary derives from Glyndwr’s press release and the abstract which accompanies the article in Visitor Studies. These are available at, respectively:

Other aspects of the same research among visitors to St Davids Cathedral have been previously reported in two further articles: Emyr Williams, Leslie Francis, Mandy Robbins and Jennie Annis, ‘Visitor Experiences of St Davids Cathedral: The Two Worlds of Pilgrims and Secular Tourists’, Rural Theology, Vol. 5, No. 2, 2007, pp. 111-23; and Leslie Francis, Emyr Williams, Jennie Annis and Mandy Robbins, ‘Understanding Cathedral Visitors: Psychological Type and Individual Differences in Experience and Appreciation’, Tourism Analysis, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2008, pp. 71-80.

An even more detailed investigation of the visitor experience at St Davids is Jennie Brice-Annis, ‘The Soul of St Davids: Mapping the Spiritual Quest of Visitors to St Davids Cathedral’, Bangor University Ph.D. thesis, 2009, 361pp. This considered four aspects of spirituality: spiritual awareness, spiritual experience, participation in the spiritual revolution, and spiritual health.

Her evidence base was both quantitative and qualitative, including a questionnaire survey (which yielded around 2,700 responses), interviews, and case studies. Analysis of the data suggested visitors to St Davids Cathedral were very much spiritually aware and underwent various spiritual experiences.

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