Self Organizing Maps (SOM) and statistical methods for describing the physicological profile of undergraduates students of engineering

Paulo Roberto Weingärtner Junior, Natalia Piedemonte Antoniassi, Vitor Ferreira Bindo, Guilherme Frederico Bernardo Lenz e Silva


To meet a Brazilian guideline for engineering courses, which advocates the use of active learning in applied disciplines, this research studies new students entering in the Metallurgical Engineering Course in Escola Politécnica of Universidade de São Paulo (PMT/USP). It was applied to them a traditional MTBI (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator) questionary with the aim of finding out if there is recurrence of psychological profiles and to understand the characteristics of the freshmen to learning. This information was subjected to statistical analysis to observe the recurrence of the psychological characteristics of freshmen over the years (2017 to 2021). The data was also subjected to the Self Organizing Maps (SOM) machine learning technique, to delineate and group the psychological profiles observed in the students, enabling the analysis of the psychological characteristics and the comparison with the results obtained via statistics. After that, the results from the MBTI Traditional and the SOM clustering were submitted to comparison methods through multivariate statistics and Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). It was found that there is recurrence of psychological characteristics between the years of collection, what were the psychological profiles of these freshmen as to how they learned. It was found that the freshmen surveyed mostly belong to Generation Z (or iGen) and characteristics pertinent to this group were observed. A scenario is obtained to point out the best active learning techniques for these students with the verification of recurrence of profiles and other correlated psychological characteristics, aiming to provide the most effective teaching in the engineering course.


Descriptive statistics, SOM clustering, correspondence analysis, generation Z, psychological profile of students

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Technology and Science Education, 2011-2024

Online ISSN: 2013-6374; Print ISSN: 2014-5349; DL: B-2000-2012

Publisher: OmniaScience