Socionics

Socionics LogoSociotype PairSocionics is a theory of personality type and human interaction and is distinguished by its information model of the psyche (called Model A) and a model of interpersonal relations. It incorporates Carl Jung’s work in Psychological Types with Antoni Kępiński’s theory of information metabolism. Socionics is a modification of Jung’s personality type theory that uses eight functions, in contrast to Jung’s model, which used only four. Its theory of intertype relations explains how people balance the (information) needs of the psyche through their relationships with each other.

Among socionists, the prevailing view is that sociotypes are inborn and genetically determined. But, recent research suggests that sociotypes aren’t genetically determined, but rather form as the result of the mother’s biggest concerns during the pregnancy. Also, some socionists believe that sociotypes may temporarily change while in altered states of consciousness or under great stress.

History

Socionics was developed in the 1970s and ’80s by economist and sociologist Aušra Augustinavičiūtė (later shortened to Aušra Augusta), in Vilnius, Lithuania. The name “socionics” is derived from the word “society”, because Augustinavičiūtė believed that each personality type has a distinct purpose in society. It was created partially to explain relationship dynamics and why some relationships are better and easier than others.

Information Elements

The central idea of socionics is that information is intuitively divisible into eight categories, called information aspects or information elements, which a person’s psyche processes using eight psychological functions. Each sociotype has a different correspondence between functions and information elements, which results in different ways of perceiving, processing, and producing information. This in turn results in distinct thinking patterns, values, and responses. Socionics’ theory of intertype relations is based on the interaction of these functions between types.

8 Functions

These information elements correspond to universal concepts: matter (thinking/T, square), time (intuiting/N, triangle), and energy (feeling/F, L block), space (sensing/S, circle). Along with Extroverted (“black”) and Introverted (“white”), they total eight functions.

16 Types

Socionics divides people into 16 different types, called sociotypes. They are most commonly referred to by their two strongest functions, which in socionics are called the leading function (Jung’s dominant) and the creative function (Jung’s auxiliary). Other type classifications are names of famous people of each type, or the social role of the type. Types are written with the last letter (J or P) in lower case to distinguish them from Myers-Briggs’ types.

Like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the 16 socionic types differ on four axes (called dichotomies): extraversion/introversion (E/I), intuition/sensing (N/S), and logic/ethics (T/F), and rationality/irrationality (J/P). Each type has one characteristic from each of the dichotomies, making 16 possible combinations.

Function Name

Four-Letter Name

Social Role Famous Person
Logical Sensory Extrovert (LSE)

ESTj

Administrator/Director Stierlitz
Logical Intuitive Extrovert (LIE)

ENTj

Enterpriser/Pioneer Jack London
Ethical Sensory Extrovert (ESE)

ESFj

Bonvivant/Enthusiast Hugo
Ethical Intuitive Extrovert (EIE)

ENFj

Mentor/Actor Hamlet
Sensory Logical Extrovert (SLE)

ESTp

Legionnaire/Conqueror Zhukov
Sensory Ethical Extrovert (SEE)

ESFp

Politician/Ambassador Napoleon (or Caesar)
Intuitive Logical Extrovert (ILE)

ENTp

Seeker/Inventor Don Quixote
Intuitive Ethical Extrovert (IEE)

ENFp

Psychologist/Reporter Huxley
Logical Sensory Introvert (LSI)

ISTj

Inspector/Pragmatist Maxim Gorky
Logical Intuitive Introvert (LII)

INTj

Analyst/Mastermind Robespierre (or Descartes)
Ethical Sensory Introvert (ESI)

ISFj

Guardian/Conservator Dreiser
Ethical Intuitive Introvert (EII)

INFj

Humanist/Empath Dostoyevsky
Sensory Logical Introvert (SLI)

ISTp

Craftsman/Artisan Gabin
Sensory Ethical Introvert (SEI)

ISFp

Mediator/Peacemaker Dumas
Intuitive Logical Introvert (ILI)

INTp

Critic/Observer Balzac
Intuitive Ethical Introvert (IEI)

INFp

Lyricist/Romantic Yesenin

Model A

Aušra Augustinavičiūtė developed the primary model of personality in Socionics, called Model A, which includes eight functional positions. The numbering of the functions is semi-arbitrary, and represents the mental track/conscious functions (1–4), and the mirror vital track/unconscious functions (5–8). For example, the ILE type has the following version of Model A:

Ne

Ti

Fi

Se

Fe

Si

Ni

Te

1

2

4

3

6

5

7

8

Groupings

Blocks

The functions are paired in four blocks: the ego block, the super-ego block, the id block, and the super-id block. The ego block contains the 1/leading (MBTI dominant) and 2/creative (auxiliary) functions, the super-ego block contains the 3/role (tertiary) and 4/vulnerable (inferior) functions, the super-id block contains the 5/suggestive (opposing) and 6/mobilizing (critical parent) functions, and the id block contains the 7/observant (deceiving) and 8/demonstrative (devilish) functions.

The functions within the ego and super-ego blocks are the conscious (or “mental”) functions, and those in the id and super-id blocks are the unconscious (or “vital”) functions. The functions in the ego and id blocks are strong functions, which are used naturally and well, and the functions of the super-ego and super-id blocks are weak functions and are used with difficulty. (In addition, using super-ego functions is stressful.)

1

2

4

3

6

5

7

8

ego

super-ego

super-id

id

strong

weak

weak

strong

Clubs

Clubs are groups of four types that reflect types of work:

  • Pragmatists (ST): ESTp, ESTj, ISTp, ISTj; or SLE, LSE, SLI, LSI
  • Researchers (NT): ENTp, ENTj, INTp, INTj; or ILE, LIE,ILI, LII
  • Socials (SF): ESFp, ESFj, ISFp, ISFj; or SEE, ESE, SEI, ESI
  • Humanitarians (NF): ENFp, ENFj, INFp, INFj; or IEE, EIE, IEI, EII

Quadras

Quadras are groups of four types in which only identity, dual, activity, and mirror relations (see below) occur. They are, therefore, the most harmonious groupings.

1

2

3

4

ILE

SEI

ESE

LII

EIE

LSI

SLE

IEI

SEE

ILI

LIE

ESI

LSE

EII

IEE

SLI

Temperaments

Temperaments are groups of four types that reflect behavioral approaches:

  • Extraverted Rational Temperament (Ej)—ESE, EIE, LIE, and LSE; energetic and proactive behavior; choleric temperament
  • Introverted Rational Temperament (Ij)—LII, LSI, ESI, and EII; slow and methodical behavior; phlegmatic temperament
  • Extraverted Irrational Temperament (Ep)—ILE, SLE, SEE, and IEE; impulsive and unpredictable behavior; sanguine temperament
  • Introverted Irrational Temperament (Ip)—SEI, IEI,ILI, and SLI; lack of motivation, inertia, and unstable moods and energy levels; melancholic temperament

Intertype Relations

Intertype relations describe the nature of interaction and information interchange between two people. These socionic relationships range from very difficult and potentially harmful to very beneficial and pleasant. There are 16 relationship roles for each type. All relations except Request and Supervision are symmetrical (each of the two types experiences the same dynamic). Request and Supervision relations are asymmetric and have two roles: Request–Requester/Request–Recipient, and Supervision–Supervisor/Supervision–Supervisee.

Table of Intertype Relations*

 

ILE

SEI

ESE

LII

EIE

LSI

SLE

IEI

SEE

ILI

LIE

ESI

LSE

EII

IEE

SLI

ILE

Id Du Ac Mr Rq+ Sv+ Cp Mg Se Ex QI Cf Rq- Sv- Cg Sd

SEI

Du Id Mr Ac Sv+ Rq+ Mg Cp Ex Se Cf QI Sv- Rq- Sd Cg

ESE

Ac Mr Id Du Cg Sd Rq- Sv- QI Cf Se Ex Cp Mg Rq+ Sv+

LII

Mr Ac Du Id Sd Cg Sv- Rq- Cf QI Ex Se Mg Cp Sv+ Rq+

EIE

Rq- Sv- Cg Sd Id Du Ac Mr Rq+ Sv+ Cp Mg Se Ex QI Cf

LSI

Sv- Rq- Sd Cg Du Id Mr Ac Sv+ Rq+ Mg Cp Ex Se Cf QI

SLE

Cp Mg Rq+ Sv+ Ac Mr Id Du Cg Sd Rq- Sv- QI Cf Se Ex

IEI

Mg Cp Sv+ Rq+ Mr Ac Du Id Sd Cg Sv- Rq- Cf QI Ex Se

SEE

Se Ex QI Cf Rq- Sv- Cg Sd Id Du Ac Mr Rq+ Sv+ Cp Mg

ILI

Ex Se Cf QI Sv- Rq- Sd Cg Du Id Mr Ac Sv+ Rq+ Mg Cp

LIE

QI Cf Se Ex Cp Mg Rq+ Sv+ Ac Mr Id Du Cg Sd Rq- Sv-

ESI

Cf QI Ex Se Mg Cp Sv+ Rq+ Mr Ac Du Id Sd Cg Sv- Rq-

LSE

Rq+ Sv+ Cp Mg Se Ex QI Cf Rq- Sv- Cg Sd Id Du Ac Mr

EII

Sv+ Rq+ Mg Cp Ex Se Cf QI Sv- Rq- Sd Cg Du Id Mr Ac

IEE

Cg Sd Rq- Sv- QI Cf Se Ex Cp Mg Rq+ Sv+ Ac Mr Id Du

SLI

Sd Cg Sv- Rq- Cf QI Ex Se Mg Cp Sv+ Rq+ Mr Ac Du Id

Key: Du – Duality; Ac – Activation; Sd – Semi-duality; Mg – Mirage; Mr – Mirror; Id – Identity; Cp – Cooperation; Cg – Congenerity; QI – Quasi-Identity; Ex – Extinguishment; Se – Super-ego; Cf – Conflict; Rq+ – Requester; Rq- – Request recipient; Sv+ – Supervisor; Sv- – Supervisee

* Each cell in the table shows who the type in the left column is to the type in the top row.

Intertype Relation Function Dynamics Characteristics
Duality The leading function of one is the suggestive function of the other, and the creative function of one is the mobilizing function of the other Mutual benefit, inspiration, and support; optimal for friendship, intimacy, and marriage; rewarding and satisfying for both; the natural information output of one type is the preferred information input of the other; one stimulates the other to use his/her strengths as much as possible by directing energy towards constructive and rewarding activities
Activation One’s dominant function is the other’s mobilizing function; both are in the same quadra and share either introversion or extraversion Similar to duality; often romantic if both partners find each other attractive; very easy to start; introvert activation relationships appear reserved, while extravert activation relationships appear hectic
Semi-duality Both lead (by leading function) each other’s dual-seeking (5th) function but lack each other’s creative function (to assist their mobilizing functions); both have the least confidence in the same area of the psyche (thinking, feeling, sensing, or intuition) Similar to duality; both often perceive elements of duality from the relationship but feel the other partner is misplacing the emphasis; relationships can become very close for moderate periods of time until correspondence is broken indefinitely; often begin or rekindle because of mutual interests or friends held in common
Mirage One’s creative function is the other’s mobilizing function; but the dual seeking (5th) function is the other’s role function Often become quite close; are easy to begin because both are able to communicate effectively with one another because they share a preference for thinking, feeling, sensing, or intuiting.
Mirror Same ego functions, yet different emphases on them; the dominant function of one is the creative function of the other Similar actions and motivations; mutual understanding; often drawn out dialogue
Identity Both have the same type Both will perceive similar situations and problems, and will take similar actions; usually understand the motivations behind the other’s actions; mutual understanding, self-development, and learning; each is interested in the other’s ideas and sees their value; can become exhausting and boring due to familiarity
Cooperation Both have the same creative function but a different dominant function Often do similar activities or have similar fields of interest, but do not understand each other’s internal motivations; often approach their related fields with vastly different agendas and have conflict when working as a team
Congenerity Both have the same dominant function but a different creative function Often see each other as interesting people and can see each other’s motivations, but interact in ways the other partner is unskilled or uninterested; often similar to mirror relationships where ideas are communicated through drawn out dialog; easy to begin because both partners share a similar type of intelligence and easy communication
Quasi-identity One’s ego function is the other’s demonstrative and observant function Mutual misunderstanding; often have similar interests (id blocks and ego blocks contain the same functions) and become involved in similar activities, but they rarely understand each other’s motivations or ideas; often identify themselves as being very different from each other
Extinguishment Both are confident in the same area of the psyche but place different emphases on each function Similar lifestyles but different thought processes; similar interests and areas of expertise; little trouble communicating with each other, but can come to vastly different conclusions about specific ideas or events
Super-ego One’s ego function is the other’s super-ego function Different values, discomfort, and mutual misunderstanding; total opposition in values to the other
Conflict Opposite temperaments The most dissimilar values; rarely understand each other’s motivations or lifestyles; usually are interested in each other, but also easily exhausted by each other
Request The request recipient’s dual seeking function is the requester’s creative function Asymmetrical—one type requests another; the recipient often takes an interest in the requester; the requester finds the recipient a highly uninteresting person; frequently ends with the departure of the requester
Supervision The supervisor’s creative function is the supervisee’s base function Asymmetrical—one type supervises another; the supervisor often perceives the supervisee as an interesting person and understands the supervisee’s lifestyle; the supervisee is often on the defensive and perceives the supervisor to be evil incarnate, while the supervisor wonders why the supervisee reacts so poorly to his objective and benevolent assistance

Methods of Type Identification

Socionists often use several methods when determining a personality type:

  • Tests
  • Analysis of behavior, interview, biography
  • Analysis of nonverbal behavior/gestures. Nonverbal behavior (also called image method) is a popular supplementary identification method popularized by Aušra Augustinavičiūtė, but rarely used as primary method.

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