Socionics’ Relationship to CT

This article is not yet written, however for a summary of Cognitive Type’s relationship to Socionics, below is an excerpt from the book on the subject.

ON SOCIONICS

Function Quadrants

Of the theories that have spun off from Jung’s original work Psychological Types (1921), I’ve found Socionics to come the closest to properly describing the phenomenon of types. The grouping of the sixteen types via four function-based quadrants – Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma –  is a far more legitimate divide than the grouping of types by behavioral manifestations as we see in the temperaments of Keirsey or the letter groupings of Myers-Briggs’ Model. The Myers-Briggs model separates type groupings by their primary and secondary functions. The NP and SJ types are considered separate groupings, and as we’d expect, we find in them profile descriptions that only describe people of one-sided development. That is to say, any person with a proper, healthy balance between their functions is either mistyped or does not fit the type profiles altogether. They will see aspects of themselves across multiple contradictory profiles and have no theoretical avenue to reconcile these traits. We cannot correctly group the sixteen types based only on what function is theorized to possess more strength according to a staircase model of hierarchical order. As any practitioner of vultology soon realizes, types can wield their two polar processes quite effectively, even if they do so sparingly due to the energetic toll involved. The traits they exhibit when wielding these polar processes are likewise important aspects of the type’s definition. Such a complication is not present in Socionics, as it acknowledges the significance of the polar processes in producing the overall psychology of the sixteen types. The descriptions for the Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma quadrants each attribute the qualities of all four functions to all four corresponding types.

J-Lead and P-Lead

Socionics’ position that a type is either Judging or Perceiving depending on the nature of the primary function is also correct, contrary to the J/P dichotomy mixing we see in Myers-Briggs’ model. The TiNe type is considered a Perceiver in Myers-Briggs model although its primary function is Ti (reactive logical judgment). Inversely, in Socionics the TiNe type is rightly considered a Judger, and the type’s description reflects this characteristic by placing higher emphasis on their tendency toward decisive clarity, albeit abstract and conceptual in nature. Here once again we see MBTI’s stamp of behaviorism in its theoretical foundation. It would reason that a more useful dichotomy to measure is how a person approaches reality, suggesting that one’s approach to life is best gauged by what function (J or P) is first oriented outward. However, the primary oscillation pairing (Ti-Fe in the case of our TiNe) is far more significant in telling us what aspects of life heavily preoccupy a type’s psychology, than which function comes up extroverted first. Consequently, due to its method of identifying the J-P dichotomy through expressed manifestations, the MBTI has a fundamentally flawed view of Judgment and Perception. The attributes of Judgment are restricted almost entirely to what is produced by Je and Perception is restricted to the attributes produced by Pe. A Perception type is considered open-ended and adaptable, while we know that Pi lead types (or Worldview types) may also be quite opposed to change or openness. But since a Pi lead type would be considered a J-type by MBTI, this reluctance to change is justified and attributed to Judgment. This in turn affects the way Je is seen in all sixteen types. In like manner, other attributes are crisscrossed throughout the type descriptions due to the swapping of the J-P dichotomy in half of the types. Unfortunately, a few of the misconceptions observed in the MBTI through the quantification of J and P via extroverted attributes are also seen in Socionics. While the TiNe type may be rightly considered J-type in Socionics, qualities involving external coordination such as planning, organizing and applying rules will be part of the type’s description. Yet, the judgment of TiNe types, or any of the four Ji types, is more keenly expressed through sharpness in conceptual differentiation and a clearly defined personal disposition toward certain topics and ideas. These internal differentiations might even be passive and unobtrusive, not having any significant bearing on the structure of the external world.

Model A

While Socionics presents many useful concepts of type, some aspects of its theory are based on an improper intermixing of psychic apparatuses, seen most prominently in Aushra Augusta’s Model A. It has been my experience that an individual’s cognitive type is positioned amidst all other surrounding psychic processes, yet it retains its own functional independence while being inescapably influenced by all other internal and external forces. The relationship cognitive type holds towards internal elements such as the ego, the shadow and the unconscious is strongly dependent on the content within those elements. The attitude an individual has toward their own functions is dependent on the person’s level of recognition and acceptance of their own human dimensionality. It is not always the case that the primary function is well praised and associated to the Self, while the polar function is underdeveloped and sensitive to criticism. Weakness, shame for weakness and other dispositions and orientations are a separate psychological matter untethered from cognitive type. In this, I find Model A’s merging of type with these psychic elements to be unwarranted, and a source of heavy restriction. If the identification of type is dependent on what psychic attitude an individual is perceived to have toward their own internal world, then type can only be accurately assessed when a person holds the expected attitude toward their own functions. But the reverse is the case, as attitudes evolve over time as the archetypes and myths a person faces through their life also change. Additionally, the arrangement of the eight functions into a mathematical structure of assigned psychic roles places Socionics on very dangerous theoretical ground. To assign specific qualities to that which is sparsely, if ever, observed (namely the four unconscious/shadow functions) quickly creates a rather unfalsifiable situation, and one which is far too dependent on theoretical math for its validity. Such rationality opens the way to confirmation bias, where otherwise extraneous and contradictory information is easily fitted into the existing model by the addendum of an annex for exceptions. Before we venture to profess what is out of our eyesight, we must clearly see what lies before us. Only after we have found an accurate way to identify and quantify the conscious apparatus are we prepared to understand the orientations which the unconscious functions hold in our psyche. We risk incorrectly quantifying the unconscious functions if we have improperly typed the conscious functions first. For this reason, I have little to say regarding the four unavailable functions of a person’s psyche, since much research and effort is still needed toward the simple initial identification of the four conscious functions in a person.

Visual Identification

Perhaps the most curious aspect of Socionics’ theory is its visual identification (V.I.) model. Socionics is in a peculiar position in regards to visual identification. While there has been considerable and continual criticism towards facial reading even within Socionics’ own community, it has nonetheless persisted within the model as a type of black sheep. For a model that seeks to provide such a theoretically airtight approach to typology, it is initially baffling to consider that the insertion of this physical, yet largely unexplained, quantifier would exist. However, the answer lies in Socionics’ own success at possessing a relatively accurate psychological conceptualization of the eight functions. Many times we witness Socionics theorists and practitioners, such as Ekaterina Filatova, who strictly practice Socionics using psychological means of quantification, puzzling over visual similarities in their patients which they could not entirely explain. In her book Understanding the People around You (2010), Filatova describes this unexpected correlation with a series of photographs of her patients and what she termed “twin” types. The “twin” people Ekaterina Filatova saw were due to a legitimate typing approach. That is to say, she was typing people correctly enough through purely psychological means that visual correlations began to emerge and which she could not wholly ignore. This has been the central dilemma of Socionics, and why it has been lukewarm in its assertion of visual identification as being something at all relevant. It is no surprise that Socionics, having a mostly accurate comprehension of psychological type, should be baffled by the apparent similarities in appearance that are naturally elicited. If only the question of similarities in appearance had been more thoroughly explored, the production of this book may not have been necessary. The failure of Socionics to fully capture the phenomenon of visual reading is due to an almost complete lack of a systemic progression of signals. The V.I. system of Socionics is far more static, lacking a dynamic flow of causality between all the signals of the sixteen types. What results instead is a typ eof physiognomy where practitioners have little to use for typing aside from the structural correlations between the faces of their patients. Typings by V.I. are most commonly performed by comparing the subject to static photographs, or to an aggregation of many faces belonging to people of that type. This has made V.I. notoriously unreliable, as the static structure of a person’s face is not itself relevant to cognitive type, and type must be visually measured by the manner in which a person’s facial muscles dynamically contract or rest in tension.