Jan 7, 2013

Type Identification and Distance to Subject

Two posts back, I wrote:

On top of this, as I considered the types of other people close to me, I realized that, in many cases, I was no longer sure of their types. Rather than thinking that this was a temporary moment of reevaluation, I have come to see this as typical. When people are psychologically closer than a certain point, "contradictions" in their personalities become more and more apparent, making their types harder to identify. I see this is a big problem; it really shouldn't be this way if socionics is indeed accurate.

To follow up on this observation, here's a graphic portraying this "focusing, then blurring" effect as the person whose type is being identified becomes closer and closer to the socionist (typer).

One of the typical psychological effects of any typology is that once you place a person in "your" category (in the case of socionics this would be whichever types you consider favorable), you tend to open up more to that person. Conversely, if you have put someone in "not your" category (e.g. an unfavorable type), you tend to close up and distance yourself somewhat from the person. This effect is most evident among people at the first stage of views on typology, as illustrated in my previous post.

When someone's type is hazy — either because they are too close or too distant from the subject, a kind of mental discomfort might be felt. After all, they must have a type! I'm suggesting here that this can serve as an artificial barrier to experiencing close relationships with other people.

But this effect shouldn't be blown out of proportion. It happens with any sort of categorization, not just in typology. For instance, a woman who suddenly decides, "this man is not trustworthy" due to a single emotionally significant incident will naturally distance herself from the man in the same way that a socionics hobbyist might after deciding that someone belongs to an "unfavorable" type. And as long as the woman is trying to make up her mind as to whether the man is trustworthy or not (or any other important characteristic), she may keep interaction at a safe distance.

The questions I'd like to pose are:

1. How universal is this "type blurring at close distances?"

2. Are there other kinds of characterizations of people that don't blur at close distances — other than obvious physical characterizations? Or is this a uniform problem of perceiving other people?


aestrivex said...

I don't at all agree with the dynamic you've illustrated here of blurring at close distances, personally. I find exactly the opposite -- maybe there are multiple levels of "the type is clear" -- but at the innermost level of closeness, I change my mind and see the type being even clearer, and that understanding tends to be completely stable.

Ibrahim said...

ok, I see where you are coming from with this. There definitely can be a "blurring" effect, but I would articulate it a little differently.

If you are closer to someone, you have more information about that person. So, if you don't have an opinion about their type, then there is more unexplained information about them and hence you have an even hazier sense of their personality than when they were at a distance.

However, when I have formed a solid opinion about a close person's type (as aestrivex describes), then there is a ton more that is explained about them. Does this agree with your experience?

The basic reason for the blurriness is just the fact that human personality is extraordinarily complex and socionics only applies to a certain fragment of it, which can be difficult to sift out. But, I still believe that this is a significant fragment.