Sep 8, 2007

Building Blocks of Socionics

Socionics is an unwieldy field with a huge number of categories, hypotheses, and stereotypes, as well as competing descriptions that either describe the same thing from different angles or simply contradict each other.

What are the most basic building blocks of socionics?

1. A couple general ideas which are basically self-evident to observant thinking people, but need to be assimilated all the same:

a) the "differentiation of the psyche" (see article at and the concept of aspects of information ("facets of reality")
b) the fact that there are factors that determine the nature of our psychological interaction with other people outside of our will

2. A couple complex logical systems and their correct formulations:

a) what each element of information metabolism means
- which aspects of reality each element perceives and processes
- behaviors and states of mind associated with each element
b) the socionic model of the psyche (i.e. Model A)
- attitudes and qualities associated with the IM elements in each position (function) of Model A
- how the element in each position responds to stimuli from other people in society
- relationships between different functions of Model A

Basically, all the rest of socionics can be derived from the systems in point 2, include type descriptions, intertype relations, dichotomies, quadras, clubs, etc.

The problem is that existing formulations of the above categories are almost always lacking -- missing some details and overemphasizing others. Also, they have not been gathered in one place and given a detailed "scrubbing." This is what we are trying to do at Wikisocion:

These tasks aren't yet finished, but are moving along well. I think the result will be quite exhaustive and authoritative. People will be able to study and compare the different descriptions to better understand the model and IM elements and how they play out in behavior and interaction. Many people do not realize that Model A has actually never been fully elucidated anywhere, and Model A is the backbone of all socionics! Hopefully, within a few months we will have a comprehensive presentation of the main building blocks of socionics.

Daulization and Harmonization

"Dualization" is a vague term that is generally used to mean either a whole-scale harmonization of personality -- a sort of massive transformation of one's habits and attitudes to adapt to the values of one's duals -- or, more commonly (among Russian enthusiasts), the mundane act of hooking up with someone of a dual type. Let's take a more discriminating look at what dualization entails.

In any area of activity -- from database design to jogging and from frat parties to prayer and meditation -- all eight information aspects are present (albeit in wildly varying proportions). In other words, extraverted sensing aspects of database design can be found, introverted logic aspects of jogging, etc. Depending on our socionic type, we are equipped to recognize and master certain aspects of activities more rapidly than others. Socionic type also outlines where we are more likely to act on our own assessments of things (functions 1, 2, 7, 8) and where we tend to rely on others' judgments more than our own (functions 3, 4, 5, 6).

In most cases, people are most adept at handling and responding to aspects of activities that correspond to their strong functions -- especially the first two. How well they handle and respond to other aspects depends largely on whom they have had around them to emulate. Often there is a great discrepancy between the ability to deal with different aspects of activities effectively. If a person has had no suitable models to copy, certain aspects of tasks and situations can cause them great stress and anxiety. An example would be someone who falls apart in distress when people are coming over to visit because he/she doesn't know what food to make for them or how to make it, but believes they must feed their guests something homemade and special. In this case, the person is in the grip of a low-quality stereotype and apparently has not had the right contact with people who could properly dispel this myth and replace it with a better set of attitudes.

So it goes in all areas of life. We may apply the best practice known to man in one aspect of an activity and cling to random, inaccurate stereotypes in another.

In my opinion, harmonization involves raising the quality (i.e. effectiveness) of attitudes and habits related to different aspects of one's life activities -- especially in the areas that were least adequate to begin with. In the language of memetics, harmonization might be called the "process of replacing counterproductive and distress-causing memes with more viable ones."

This process is a bit broader than dualization, since attitudes and habits can be improved by people of any type, not just duals. However, duals have special access to each other's emotional world and can help correct self-concept problems more easily than other types (assuming a friendly relationship). Also, duals are more likely to effectively help adjust attitudes and behaviors in other areas as well, since the psychological distance is smaller and the level of receptiveness is especially high.

Can I get dualized or harmonized once and for all?

Ha, what a question. Imagine you are a professional Don Juan -- always learning new techniques for seducing women, always sharing experience with others like yourself, and constantly studying the best sources available in the field. What are the chances that your skills in other aspects of male-female relationships will keep up with your ability to seduce women? How confident will you feel if you are put in a position where seduction is not allowed or not possible and all your well-honed skills become irrelevant? If you consistently have the right people around you to observe who effectively manage other aspects of male-female relationships, chances are you will eventually pick up on their main attitudes and habits and will be able to respond effectively to most situations that don't fall into the "seduction" category. But if these people disappear from your life, you may find you quickly revert to many old habits and attitudes.

Maybe this is a clumsy example, but the same patterns apply to any area of activity. When key role models are taken away, people regress to many of their previous less-effective behavior patterns.

Can one person completely dualize me?

"Complete dualization" or harmonization would imply removing all ineffective or inaccurate behaviors and attitudes from all areas of one's life. To be completely dualized by one person, the person would have to share every single activity of yours and delve into every single imperfection in each activity. Imperfections are not hard to notice, since they are accompanied by distress, but who is going to take the time to painstakingly analyze and correct each and every distress-causing behavior pattern? A dual partner (or any other, for that matter) will focus on the ones that 1) affect them, or 2) they are asked to address.


Basically, harmonization and dualization can and need to take place at work, at home, in the kitchen and the bedroom, on the tennis court, in one's e-mail box, on the phone with the insurance company, and even in one's sleep. A whole chain of people will help you along the way over the years, with different activities receiving different emphasis depending on the circumstances. Some people get a head start by having had the right balance of role models early on. Other people wake up and realize what they've been missing later in life. The overall process -- as outlined here -- is the same for everyone.