First! A bit of history…
Socionics is a theory that combines Jungian psychology and sociology, categorising types of personality and explaining how those different personalities interact with each other. It is taught in 150 different universities around Eastern Europe.
Its greatest inspiration was Carl Jung and his famous Psychological Types (1921). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator shares this original source.
Antoni K?pi?ski, a Polish psychiatrist, came up with a psychological theory of human interactions called Information Metabolism in which we process information into behaviour like an organism metabolises food into energy.
In the late 1970’s, Lithuanian psychologist and sociologist, Aušra Augustinavi?i?t? took Information Metabolism and combined it with Psychological Types to create the foundations of Socionics.
Following Aušra, a variety of socionists have expanded on the basic theory. Foremost among these are Victor Gulenko, Grigoriy Reinin and Aleksandr Bukalov.
And now the basics…
Jungian Dichotomies - The original four dichotomies that can be found in MBTI and Socionics but are given significantly more nuanced definitions in the latter. These are Energising/Integrating (also called Extroversion/Introversion), Intuition/Sensation, Logic/Ethics (also called Thinking/Feeling) and Rationality/Irrationality (also called Judging/Perceiving).
1. Energising and Integrating
- Energising - The attitude of breadth, ravenously accumulating more and more information. An Energiser takes the initiative, putting more impetus into projects, instigating new action, taking them in big leaps, and driving events forward, making larger, but less coherent, changes to their surroundings. Associated with action, expression, innovation and improvement.
- Integrating - The attitude of depth, refining information down to the most important parts. An Integrator carefully reacts to the initiatives of others, consolidating and reconciling, making sense, removing what does not fit, checking quality and maintaining what is good. Associated with analysis, reflection, self-maintenance and good conscience.
2. Rationality and Irrationality
- Rationality - Information on 'what ought' i.e. judgments on things whether sentimental (Ethics) or systematic (Logic). Rational information is comprised of all our assessments (i.e. what we think or feel about things). A 'Rational' person's primary reason for action is to maintain or fulfil standards and ideals and as such tend to be more reliable and conscientious.
- Irrationality - The attitude of 'what is' i.e. perceptions of things whether physical (Sensation) or abstract (Intuition). Irrational information is comprised of all that we perceive (i.e. what we see or imagine), telling us what is or could be done. An 'Irrational' person's primary reason for action is to pursue or satisfy desires and needs and as such tend to be more free-spirited and impulsive.
3. Intuition and Sensation
These are the two sorts of Irrational information i.e. perceptions.
- Intuition - All perceptions that are Internal (i.e. subjective and in our heads) and Detached (i.e. experienced numbly). The abstract, hypothetical and imagined. Intuitive types are more inclined to perceive with the mind than the body, being more capable with concepts than real things. Intuition deals with the vague and general, allowing consideration of what might happen somewhere in our future. Symbolised by a Triangle.
- Sensation - All perceptions that are External (i.e. objective and observable in the outside world) and Involved (i.e. experienced viscerally). The real, concrete and experienced. Sensory types are more inclined to perceive with the body than the mind, being more capable with real things than concepts. Sensation deals with the precise and day to day allowing awareness of what is happening in the here and now. Symbolised by a Circle.
4. Ethics and Logic
These are the two sorts of Rational information i.e. judgements.
- Ethics - All judgements that are Internal (i.e. subjective and in our heads) and Involved (i.e. experienced viscerally). The emotional, personal and felt. Ethical types are more inclined to judge with the heart than the head, being more capable with other people than systems and processes. Ethics deals with how people ought to feel about things, allowing charisma and relationship-forming. Symbolised by an L-Block.
- Logic - All judgements that are External (i.e. objective and observable in the outside world) and Detached (experienced numbly). The systematic, factual and reasoned. Logical types are more inclined to judge with the head than the heart, being more capable with systems and processes than other people. Logic deals with how facts and statements ought to work together, allowing apt organisation and problem-solving. Symbolised by a Square.
Temperament – The Extroversion/Introversion dichotomy and the Rationality/Irrationality dichotomy were combined by Gulenko to form the four temperaments. These are general attitudes that shape how people approach the world around them. This is the first major grouping of the sixteen types in Socionics, but the least important or applicable without Clubs and Quadras (see Part 3).
- Linear-Assertive – Extroverted and Rational. Possess an expansive mind-set over judgments. Proactively and busily takes on things that ought to be done. They are Dynamic, more about knowing how to change depending on the situation, rather than having a stable approach. They want to revise and augment the ought making it more effective. Associated with the Choleric temperament. Types: ESE, EIE, LIE & LSE.
- Flexible-Manoeuvring – Extroverted and Irrational. Possess an expansive mind-set over perceptions. Actively accumulating more and more things they want or are interested in. They are Static, fixating on something and chasing after it then suddenly switching to something else. They want to place as many pins on as many things as they can. Associated with the Sanguine temperament. Types: ILE, SLE, SEE & IEE.
- Balanced-Stable – Introverted and Rational. Possess a selective mind-set over judgments, remaining loyal to certain fixtures. They are Static, adhering to a few, fixed oughts of particular or absolute importance. They want to preserve the integrity of their ought, not being compromised or betrayed. Associated with the Melancholic temperament. Types: LII, LSI, ESI & EII.
- Receptive-Adaptive – Introverted and Irrational. Possess a selective mind-set over perceptions. Focus on refining and satisfying the few needs or desires. They are Dynamic, making, gradual, subtle alterations to help fulfill a holistic need or vision. They want to refine their perception, cutting out noise and distraction. Associated with the Phlegmatic temperament. Types: SEI, IEI, ILI, SLI.
Club – We can combine the Intuition/Sensation dichotomy with the Logic/Ethics dichotomy to create the four Clubs. These are classifications of our Strengths and Weaknesses, showing what activities and areas of interest we are likely to find ourselves operating in.
- Researcher – Intuitive and Logical. Most equipped to deal with abstract problem-solving, either creating strategies and methods for long term developments (e.g. economics and business management) or working with theoretical structures to classify and understand the world (e.g. theoretical science and mathematics). They are prone to being especially Detached from day-to-day matters and their own feelings. Types: ILE, LII, ILI & LIE.
- Humanitarian – Intuitive and Ethical. Most equipped to deal with creative output on the human condition, either passionately making others aware of a long-term purpose (public speaking and drama) or creating new opportunities for moral improvement in the world. They are prone to being especially Internal, viewing the world in a very subjective and personal manner. (e.g. charity and psychotherapy). Types: EIE, IEI, EII & IEE.
- Pragmatist – Sensory and Logical. Most equipped to deal with real solutions to physical problems, either assertively enforcing structures and hierarchy (e.g. martial warfare and policing) or refining methodologies to make daily processes run comfortably and efficiently (e.g. medicine and engineering). They are prone to being especially External, viewing the world in a very objective and observable manner. Types: LSI, SLE, LSE & SLI.
- Socialite – Sensory and Ethical. Most equipped to socialise with and persuade people, either catering to the emotional and physical well being of others (e.g. cooking and entertainment) or making strong connections with people to achieve ends (e.g. diplomacy and etiquette). They are prone to being especially Involved, being most caught up in their feelings and physical surroundings. Types: SEI, ESE, SEE & ESI.
Information Metabolism Element (IME) – We can combine the Extroversion/Introversion dichotomy with both the Intuition/Sensation and Logic/Ethics dichotomies to form the eight IMEs. These are theoretical constructs that convert (metabolise) certain kinds of information into behaviour. Each is geared towards a certain kind of information which is then acted upon via the process of Information Metabolism.
- Energising Intuition– Intuition of Ideas. Expands the range of possibilities that could be explored. This instils an attitude of opportunity-seeking and avoiding commitments that may limit one's options, as well as tolerance of multiple, alternative viewpoints. Leading Types: ILE & IEE. Creative Types: LII & EII.
Symbolised by I or
- Integrating Intuition – Intuition of Time. Limits probabilities to predict the most likely outcome. This instils an attitude of working out what is important in life and detaching from day-to-day concerns, attempting to work out the path that lies ahead and how to fulfil a positive future, or else, avert a disaster. Leading Types: IEI & ILI. Creative Types: EIE & LIE.
Symbolised by T or
- Energising Sensation – Sensation of Force. Boosts one's power and dominance over the physical surroundings. This instils an attitude of competition and assertiveness, treating things as straightforward and direct, intensely pursuing one’s ambitions in the real world and overcoming challenges to gain more territory. Leading Types: SLE & SEE. Creative Types: LSI & ESI.
Symbolised by F or
- Integrating Sensation – Sensation of Senses. Refines sensory experiences down to those that are of best quality, seeking to maintain the natural, organic flow of one's experiences. This instils an attitude of calm and relaxation, avoiding anything too strenuous or worrisome, being satisfied and content with what is natural, pleasant and convenient. Leading Types: SEI & SLI. Creative Types: ESE & LSE.
Symbolised by S or
- Energising Logic – Logic of Pragmatism. Judgement of the efficiency of actions and technical processes, the prudence of a method or approach and how it will work practically. It is geared towards facts and assesses situations based on what happened, looking to convey information as accurately as possible, making communication dry and matter-of-fact. P approaches systems in terms of how they can be improved, changing and adding to one's knowledge through empirical observation in order to increase functionality and profitability. Leading Types: LIE & LSE. Creative Types: ILI & SLI.
Symbolised by P or
- Integrating Logic – Logic of Laws. Stipulates rules to explain how things are and bring order, placing categories to sort data according to a consistent narrative. This instils an attitude that everything should fit together and make sense, explaining what things are with clear definitions, cutting out what does not fit with that order, and seeking fundamentally to understand things to a logical perfection. Leading Types: LII & LSI. Creative Types: ILE & SLE.
Symbolised by L or
- Energising Ethics – Ethics of Emotions. Judgement of the infectiousness of expressions and emotional states, the appeal of a message or image and how someone will react emotionally. E is geared towards feelings and and assesses situations based on how people feel, looking to convey one's emotions as authentically as possible, making communication exaggerated and charged with passion. It approaches people in terms of how they are made to feel, provoking and influencing people's emotions through expressive actions in order to raise excitement and enthusiasm.Leading Types: ESE & EIE. Creative Types: SEI & IEI.
Symbolised by E or
- Integrating Ethics – Ethics of Relations. Consults one’s personal sentiments in relation to others, sentimentally judging whether someone or something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and setting up one's psychological distance to the person or thing accordingly, establishing close or distant relations of friendship or opposition. This instils an attitude of maintaining stable attitudes and relationships, treating people based on one's judgments of their character, avoiding untrustworthy displays and maintaining one's personal integrity based on likes and dislikes. Leading Types: ESI & EII. Creative Types: SEE & IEE.
Symbolised by R or
To learn about how these IM Elements come together in a person's psyche, click here and read Part 2 of this Introduction.