Mar 14, 2008

Introverted Extratims and Extraverted Introtims

One of the challenges of socionics is figuring out how to associate levels of social extraversion with socionic extraversion and introversion. Myers-Briggs Typology has essentially incorporated social extraversion as one of its four dichotomies, but in socionics it is not so simple. While there may be some correlation between social extraversion and socionics extraversion, it is too weak to be a consistently useful typing instrument. Also, equating the two closely can lead to potentially harmful stereotypes that suggest that people "should" be behaving more or less extravertedly than they actually are.

Social extraversion itself can be a bit hard to diagnose, but is generally more apparent than socionics extraversion and introversion. A person's current mood, state of health, interest level, and feelings towards the people around him may strongly influence his level of initiative and gregariousness, so it may take some time to get an accurate impression of a person. Some people may be easily diagnosable as typical extraverts, others as typical introverts, but a large percentage of people are somewhere in the middle.

If you meet a pronounced social extravert who is always in the center of attention, always getting people together, and always making lots of noise and monopolizing situations, chances are he or she is also a socionics extravert ("extratim"). The same goes for pronounced social introverts who don't like meeting new people, prefer listening to speaking, and are wary of everything new and unfamiliar. But these are not the only types of people.

The extraverted introtim

These people tend to be socially involved and feel comfortable expressing themselves publicly without feelings of self-consciousness. They tend not to think a lot or hesitate before speaking out loud and are highly verbal. In social situations they often appear to be using an extraverted function (often their creative function, but not always), but their values and perspective come from their leading function. The difference between an extraverted introtim and an extratim is that when they are being "active" and "extraverted," introtims are not really keeping track of the world around them, but are focused on themselves, whereas extratims are following and studying their environment at the same time. Also, their attitude towards the extraverted function they are applying (especially their creative function) is more careless, as if they don't attach much importance to it and are just engaging in it for fun. When an extratim uses his or her leading function, there is a greater sense of purpose, awareness, and urgency. The extratim has the intention of actually affecting others with his leading function, whereas an introtim using his or her creative function seems to be just playing around for personal needs or enjoyment.

The introverted extratim

Many, if not most extratims do not use their leading function for social expansion in every situation they find themselves in. Some actually do, but many others are quite deliberate, observant, and socially detached. Even people with leading extraverted ethics or extraverted sensing can be like this. These extratims generally speak and act deliberately, often with a bit of hesitation and reservation. They seem less open about their intentions and always seem to be considering something in their minds. They don't have the need to air their thoughts to practically everyone they meet like more gregarious extratims, but are more selective about when to express themselves. In social situations they often appear to be using their creative function (or another introverted function), but their values and decisions come from their leading function. What makes these extratims different from introtims is that they barely respond to other people's initiative, whereas even extraverted introtims are usually receptive and supportive of others' initiative. When an introverted extratim uses his creative function (and other introverted functions), he does so "carelessly" or "for fun" -- more just to get a kick out of it (suggestive function) or because he is in the mood at the moment (creative function). When an introtim uses his leading function, there is a sense of seriousness and greater concern and carefulness about what he is saying and doing.

Compare, for instance, the playful theorizing of ILEs and SLEs with the weighty thoughts of LIIs and LSIs. Or the haphazard and situational emotionality of SEIs and IEIs with the deliberate and focused emotions of ESEs and EIEs. The situational technical solutions of SLIs and ILIs and the productivity and efficiency-based life philosophy of LIEs and LSEs. Or the playful and changeable friendliness of SEEs and IEEs with the long-term alliances and moral awareness of ESIs and EIIs.

Each function can be used to observe and think/feel as well as to act and speak, regardless of whether the function is introverted or extraverted. "Introverted" people observe and think more, while "extraverted" people act and speak more readily. Hopefully, the above descriptions will help realize how to tell apart some of the less obvious extratims and introtims without assuming that such people are acting "out of type."


Brian said...


Do you think that these introverted extratims and extraverted introtims correspond with subtypes that overuse their creative function? It makes sense at first glance - I am a Ni-subtype LIE, and the introverted extratim description fits me perfectly.

Rick said...

I don't think it's an issue of "overusing" a function. The person is simply more or less excitable and socially engaged, with more or less of the neurophysiological characteristics that define psychological extraversion and introversion. I think what I'm describing probably correlates fairly well to the 2 subtypes described by Meged and Ovcharov, but I personally prefer not to think of them as subtypes.

Instead, I think of them as more or less "revved up" versions of the same type and the same functions. With extraverted sensing, for instance, you can be in everyone's face, but you can also use the same function to observe and plan actions. You can use extraverted logic to spew out facts and methods right and left, but you can also use it to dig around in some process and figure out what is going on and why. You can use introverted thinking to go around telling people about rules and concepts, or you can use it to carefully and methodically outline your thoughts on different subjects. Basically, there are different spheres of usage of each function, some more typically socially extraverted than others.

This is purely my take on the matter, but just because you are a "quieter" LIE doesn't mean that you use introverted intuition more than more revved up LIEs.

I can also use myself as an example. I am an introspective IEE, but I could hardly care less about introverted ethics in most situations. Even though I am smiley and friendly and tend to listen rather than talk in most social situations, that doesn't mean I am thinking about emotional attitudes more than about the unseen potential of the situation.

Another issue is that more intelligent people with unusual abilities or interests less often find themselves in social situations where they can express themselves spontaneously without eliciting strange reactions. So the best place to get an idea of what a person is really like is among his own kind of people who share his interests and values. Here, people's behavior switches to the typical "type behavior" that they feel most comfortable with.

brian said...

Thanks for your response - it really cleared up a lot of issues that I wasn't too sure about.

Though Te is my leading function, I've noticed that I use it in a very different manner than typical LIE/LSE stereotypes. I find that generally people think of leading Te as that efficient management/leadership style that involves lots of supporting information that is stated verbally. However, though I always gather great amounts of information on any topic that I deem important, I usually keep it to myself. Based on this information, I craft procedures and strategies in my mind that will allow me to successfully accomplish my goals. I spent a significant amount of my time like this, and I never verbalize anything that goes through my head while doing so. On the other hand, just as you described, I will be a know-it-all around a few comfortable people when I am discussing one of my passions (psychology or finance mostly) but I would never do so around most people.

Do you have any personal observations that you've made on different usage styles for the functions?

I definitely think that the usefulness of type descriptions would be greatly enhanced would they be expanded to allow for the possibility of differing function usage. Stereotypes are probably a great cause of type confusion.

Fantastic topic - feel like I learned a lot.

machintruc said...

Then, extroversion is related to an high serotonin level.

What do you think of "physical" extroversion, like being motivated to do things, i.e. having an high dopamin level ? Russell Crowe, Milosevic and Stalin are perfect examples, as they don't appear relevant to social, myersian, or socionic extroversion. They're unsociable, quiet doers.

thehotelambush said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thehotelambush said...

"Another issue is that more intelligent people with unusual abilities or interests less often find themselves in social situations where they can express themselves spontaneously without eliciting strange reactions."

This is a great point. Even in a certain group of Alphas I know I sometimes get the feeling that they don't understand where I'm coming from, because they aren't at all interested in intellectual things like I am. I tend to see their interests and conversations as shallow and typical.

Anonymous said...

We can't ignore the amount of people who do these jobs without having their type 'linked' to it. These people outnumber those doing jobs with the prescribed type. We cannot select research to suit what we want to say

Anonymous said...

The above comment is for professional inclination. I somehow managed to put it in here