The IM Elements – Part 2: Judgments

The 8 Information Metabolism Elements, often shortened to ‘IM’ Elements or even ‘IMEs’, are the building blocks of the Socionics theory. They represent the processes by which a person approaches one of the 8 ‘Aspects’ of reality, presented as information from the external world, as well as our internal thoughts and feelings, before metabolising it into our cognitions and behaviours, essentially personality.

In this Two-Part series, I will go over comprehensive definitions of these IM Elements, covering 1) the Aspect of information, i.e. the kind of information we interact with; 2) the process by which we metabolise this information into the output of our personality; 3) a description of how a ‘Strong’, capable usage of this IM Element manifests; and 4) a description of how one would ‘Value’ this IM Element, appreciating its presence and use.

IM Elements can be most broadly split into the more observational Perceptions (i.e. what X is/could be) and the more evaluatory Judgments (i.e. how X should be/ought to be done). For Part 2, I will cover the 4 kinds of Judgment. To see Part 1, where I covered Perceptions, click here.

Pre-amble (skip to the ‘Descriptions of the 4 Judgments’ if you want a quicker introduction)

Judgments can either be BOTH External (i.e. objective and explicit) and Detached (i.e. experienced without feeling) OR BOTH Internal (i.e. subjective and implicit) and Involved (i.e. experienced vivaciously). The former is known as Logic, while the latter is known as Ethics.

Logic and Ethics can each be further divided into two kinds based on attitude and approach to that sort of Judgment. One could take take a Energising perspective, busily increasing the effectiveness of judgments for each situation. This is done to judgments in a Dynamic manner, continuously revising and changing over time.

Alternatively, one could take an Integrating perspective, sticking to a few that are reliable and correct. This is done to judgments in a Static manner, preserving the integrity of the judgements without being corrupted or changed.

This allows us to formulate 4 varieties of judgment:

  • First, when applying an Energising & Dynamic approach to Logic, we get Pragmatism (P).
  • Applying an Integrating & Static approach to Logic gives us Laws (L). 
  • Similarly, applying an Energising & Dynamic approach to Ethics gives us Emotions (E).
  • Finally, applying an Integrating Static approach to Ethics results in Relations (R).
These are the 4 Judgments.
Descriptions of the 4 Judgments

1. Pragmatism (P) :

Aspect: Factually-informed processes. Any working body or mechanism is made up of moving parts that change in their properties. Continuous observation of such processes provides data on how the thing works, its effects and how it can be improved. Such data is factual and concrete, being clearly substantiated in observation. The larger the quantity of data and the more often it is updated, the better the decisions that can be made, increasing the efficiency of these processes.

Metabolism: The individual focuses their attention on figuring out how things work from available factual data. Anything learned is treated as part of an ongoing stream of useful information, through which methods and strategies can be updated to maximise their productivity. In doing so, the person thinks pragmatically, optimising performance by applying well-informed, accurate expertise on the relevant subject, ultimately doing what works best. In doing so, processes are improved and prudent decisions made, the person being competent and helpful to their environment.

Strength: The person is good at taking in large quantities of factual data and understanding how to apply that information effectively. They are capable at problem solving, having a good sense of what works and how something can be made to perform even better. In addition, when encountering a situation where they might be ignorant, the person will know how to find the information they need and will easily update their thoughts and opinions on things as they learn. They will be able to readily explain how things work to others, relaying the facts with confidence, being widely knowledgeable. [Applies to ILE, LII, LSI, SLE, ILI, LIE, LSE & SLI.]

Value: The person places importance on doing things effectively for oneself. The individual needs to feel that they are improving, getting better at things in their life through the accumulation of knowledge and experience. Without continuous improvement in some way, they may feel they are being wasteful. They will place an emphasis on communication to accurately inform people in its full complexity, preferring to say only what they know to be factually true and helpful, expecting others to take what they say at face value. They may similarly correct simplification or exaggeration. [Applies to SEE, ILI, LIE, ESI, LSE, EII, IEE & SLI.]

2. Laws (L) :

Aspect: Structures and axioms. Any data set can be found to have underlying norms and rules that seem fundamental to it. Distinct elements of a set can be shown to have qualities in common, which based on membership to a set, can be generalised categorically. Furthermore, all propositions in a system must be consistent to all be true. Consequently, structures can be formulated to reduce complex data to a finite set of rules, making sense of the available information, with fundamental axioms necessitating or negating contingent propositions.

Metabolism: The individual identifies regularities and norms in their data, formulating models with finite rules to explain what is necessitated and what is not permitted. Such systems are designed with consistency, accounting for what fits together without contradiction. Similarly, order is brought to chaotic situations through the imposition of rules with consequences, communicating the parameters by which certain actions are unlawful or obligated, and classifying available data into different kinds and varieties so as to aid comprehension of what things are and how they differ.

Strength: The person is good at making sense of their thoughts and of the things around them, being able to formulate a clear rationale for their positions. Similarly, they will be able to disperse confusion by creating categories that best divide up the available data. The person will be associated with refined precision and clarity of thought, quickly spotting what is consistent with what they already know and highlighting any contradictions. In this way, they may come across as highly logical, easily spotting breaches of rules and subtle distinctions between two points of view. [Applies to ILE, LII, LSI, SLE, ILI, LIE, LSE & SLI.]

Value: The person seeks to understand the world around them in a consistent, coherent manner. Desiring clarity and for things to make perfect sense, they look for signal in the noise of data, arranging them in a way that fits together neatly, providing them with a framework to account for new scenarios. The person will appreciate rules that can apply without exception, reducing chaos and confusion. As such, they will tend to create or follow a particular ideology or theory through which events are interpreted to fit together, and will much prefer when things align well under that lens. [Applies to ILE, SEI, ESE, LII, EIE, LSI, SLE & IEI.]

3. Emotions (E)

Aspect: Affective motivation. People undergo an ever-changing kaleidoscope of emotion. These emotions can vary in nature and intensity, from happiness to anger to fear to solemnity. In each case, these feelings affect the bearer, motivating their behaviour. When expressed, emotion easily passes to other people, where it is felt in turn and passed on. As such, moods can travel outwards to include numerous other people, perpetuating a shared energy or feeling that can provoke or increase enjoyment. This emotional atmosphere can be participated in and contributed to, or undermined.

Metabolism: The individual experiences emotions which they express to the people around them. In doing so, any need to express one’s feelings is satisfied and the emotional energy of the environment is increased, leading to greater affect and involvement. In this way, how people feel can be moved and uplifted through public expression, changing people’s perceptions and instilling passion. Similarly, people are brought together under these propagated moods, supporting the feeling being created and the activities being undertaken with those feelings.

Strength: The person possesses a good understanding of their emotions and others’, knowing how to appeal to their feelings and to be likeable. In this way, they can be charismatic, winning people over with their personality, or cheering them up, and being able to enlist people’s voluntary, enthusiastic help. They will be confident in image-control, knowing how people respond emotionally to their behaviour, and making their communications more pleasing or to create a desired effect. In this way, the person will be good at getting a message across to others and instigating the right responses. [Applies to SEI, ESE, EIE, IEI, SEE, ESI, EII & IEE.]

Value: The person desires an enrichment of their emotional experiences, appreciating things by the amount they are made to feel or care. They will be attracted to things that stir interest, passion or enjoyment, preferring what is fun, uplifting or exciting. The person will desire to be accepted or even admired by others, evaluating the goodness of things by their effect on the surrounding emotional state. They will place an emphasis on authentic self-expression, being able to show how they feel, communicating their passions and not wanting to hide how they feel from others. [Applies to ILE, SEI, ESE, LII, EIE, LSI, SLE & IEI.]

4. Relations (R) :

Aspect: Personal attitudes and bonds of trust. People naturally possess set characteristics of their personality which make them a certain way, and result in a certain character. The quality of this character can manifest sentimentally in what someone feels is good or bad, the inner sentiment experiencing attraction and repulsion to various stimuli. Similarly, a person’s character can be likewise judged to be good or bad by others. In this way, two people of mutually attracting characters can come together in a close bond, or if repulsing, move apart.

Metabolism: The individual consults their personal attitudes towards people and events they encounter, registering whether they are attracted to or repulsed. In this way, judgments are formed on people’s character assessing whether they are good and trustworthy, or not. From this judgment, an appropriate psychological distance can be established and maintained, with liked people being kept close as friends, and disliked people being kept away with animosity. In doing so, the individual decides their relationships with others.

Strength: The person has a good awareness of their subjective opinions towards other people and things, knowing with confidence what feels wrong or right to them. With other people, they can confidently decide on a person’s character, judging whether they are good for them or not. They will be able to integrate these judgments into their treatment of others with appropriate nuance, setting the right sort of relationship with each person they interact with, allowing stable, reliable loyalties. They can expertly tell apart their friends from their foes, as well as business relations and acquaintances. [Applies to SEI, ESE, EIE, IEI, SEE, ESI, EII & IEE.]

Value: In valuing sincere treatment of people by individual merit, the person places an emphasis on the stability and reliability of their relationships with others, trying to treat each person in line with the way the unique relationship feels to them, based on character judgment. They will prioritise their relations with the people they like, giving preferential treatment and opening up in ways they would not with acquaintances, losing their usual formality. Fidelity is seen as especially important, and the person will try to know where they stand with others, being hurt by those who violate their bond. [Applies to SEE, ILI, LIE, ESI, LSE, EII, IEE & SLI.]

Extra observations

One can be strong at both P & L, OR at both E & R. The former would make someone a ‘Logical’ type, the latter, an ‘Ethical’ type.

However, when it comes to valuing information, one can value P & R together OR E L together. The former would be a type with ‘Integrity-Seeking’ values, while the latter would be a type with ‘Clarity-Seeking’ values.