Socionics: Are Human Relations Predictable?
© Dmitri Lytov, text, translation from Russian,
© Lev Kamensky, verification of translation,
In Czech language
Psychologie Dnes (Psychology Today), Prague, Czech Republic, 2002, No.
Among numerous personality theories, Socionics has a special
place. It is the first to suggest a correlation between personality types
(in Socionics they are 16) and interpersonal relations. The inventor of
Socionics – Aushra Augusta (real surname – Augustinavichiute) from Lithuania,
– used the functional personality typology of Carl Gustav Jung, which
has already become the basis of several popular tests – Myers Briggs Type
Indicator, Eysenck Temperament Test, Keirsey Temperament Sorter  etc.
What sets Jung’s typology apart from other typologies,
in the first place is that it classifies psychological types by the mutually
suppressive psychological functions, such that the strength of the one
implies weakness of the other. This sheds light not only on individual
problems, but also on possible informational and actional exchange between
people. Secondly, Jungian typology applies not just to the mentally ill
(like e.g. Leonhard or Sheldon typologies ), but in the same way to
healthy individuals. It differentiates people by styles of perception
and processing of information .
The difference of inborn capabilities of people and thus
existence of different personality types is a matter of fact. Personality
is variable, capable of developing and changing under the influence of
environment, but its flexibility is restricted from the outset. Out of
this Socionics makes an important implication: interpersonal relations
also have their limits determined by the types of the participants. Thus
“universal formulas of interpersonal harmony” offered by several schools
of practical psychology are nothing but myths, just like the myth of the
alchemical “phi-losopher’s stone”.
At a wide psychological distance relations may be of
any kind; but the more intimate the communication between two people becomes,
the more their inborn personality types come into play, and the more important
the factor of intertype relationships becomes.
We are not talking now about collision of interests,
arguments about property, social inequality etc., which are inevitable
in any society, but rather about partners’ signal systems (like those
described by I.P.Pavlov), about their capability to react adequately to
each other’s signals, either verbal or actional.
Socionic Types and Relationships.
The difference between any two of the 16 Socionics’ types
are striking as between a cat and a dog. One can only imitate behavior
of other types; and each such imitation requires much more efforts than
living within one’s inborn type. Such problems are well known in psychology:
choosing inappropriate occupations, living among “inappropriate people”
Look at the Table 1 representing all 16 Socionics’ types.
A century ago C.G.Jung just in-tuitively fell upon criteria of splitting
mankind into personality types. For example, “intuitive” types are notorious
for their aptitude towards abstract thinking, imagination (at the cost
of in-creased distraction of what is actually going on), while “sensory”
types, on the contrary, have well-developed attention, easily focus on
details – but such sharpened reaction to actuality makes them more aggressive,
it is more difficult for them to release tension.
Modern researches of the brain show that intuitive perception
is provided by activity of left posterior part of the brain, while sensory
perception by right posterior section . The division between other
criteria of Jungian personality types is also very significant. It is
possible that cor-relation between the brain structure and the personality
types is of genetic origin.
This was evidenced by researches of Dr. Je.S.Filatova,
a psychologist from St. Petersburg, who since 1991 has been collecting
photographs of people whose personality types she had previously tested.
As a result she discovered an interesting fact – several series of “quasi-twins”
among representatives of each personality type . This is one more testimony
in favor of ge-netic origin of Socionics’ types.
How do interpersonal relations look in the light of these
Socrates was probably the first known man who asked the
question, which friend is better – the most similar one (which provides
optimal mutual understanding) or the most different (in order that strong
traits of the one support the weak traits of the other) . Similar discussions
exist in the modern psychology, in particular, among Jungians.
Socionics rejects this approach as simplification of
reality. As one can see from Table 1, Socionics’ types are categorized
by different traits: the temperament describes the types in dynamics,
and the occupational mindset from the viewpoint of their efficiency in fulfilling
certain tasks. The question of greater or smaller level of similarity
between partners becomes senseless: for example, the logical-intuitive
extravert differs a lot from the “similar” intuitive-logical extravert
by its speed of reaction towards irritation, by the grade of internal
tension; as a result, they are not easy to cooperate with each other due
to different life tempos. At the same time, the relation-ship between
the intuitive-logical extravert and the sensory-logical introvert represents
a very efficient interaction in solving business tasks. Different kinds
of intertype relationships are best suited for different purposes.
In family life the so-called dual relationship proves
to be the most stable. The 16 types fit into 8 dual pairs: for example,
logical-intuitive extravert + ethical-sensory introvert. Later this theory
was confirmed by imperial data. Several years ago psychologists Boukalov,
Karpenko, Chikirisova from Ukraine have researched a great plant belonging
to aircraft industry. After putting together results of testing of the
personnel, they found, that many of them are married with each other.
An additional research of the married couples has shown that out of 16
possible intertype relationships, the greatest percentage of family relationships
(more than one third) belongs to dual relationships . An independent
statistical research of family pairs performed by Filatova has also shown
very high percentage of dual pairs (17%) compared to other relationships
Socionics as a Role Training.
When in the early 1970s Socionics has just entered the
scene, the Soviet psychology was obsessed by the Marxist-Leninist viewpoint:
“Personality is a product of adaptation to environment” . As a result,
researches in the branch of personality types met a lot of hindrances.
Moreover, even now each theory of personality type has
a weak point: different psychologists envision the same personality types
in slightly different ways, which causes arguments. When a psychologist
detects his client’s personality type by testing, interviewing or any
other method, his work is similar to that of a doctor, but the last, as
a rule, knows very well the structure of his patient’s internal organs,
while a psychologist cannot open up his client’s skull and look inside.
This is why any theory of personality types can be blamed with subjectivity;
and Socionics is no exception.
But in view of such obstacles A.Augusta did not surrender,
but made a very non-trivial move: she created on the basis of Socionics
an amazing role play, or a role training, similar to Eric Berne’s transactional
analysis. Personality types got very impressive pseudonyms (Don Quichotte,
Hamlet, Balzac etc.). Due to a series of publications in popular magazines
socionists managed to attract specialists’ attention to the problems of
correlation between personality types and interpersonal relations. Now
the time of amateurs is over, and many experimental researches on this
problem are performed.
And this means that new discoveries in psychology are
about to dawn on us and shed more light on the problem of Personality.
- Keirsey D., Bates M. Please Understand Me. Character and Temperament
Types. Gnosology Books Ltd., 1984.
- Аугустинавичюте А. Соционика. Т. 1-2. СПБ, Terra Fantastica, 1998.
- Букалов А.В., Карпенко О.Б., Чикирисова Г.В.. О статистике отношений
в супружеских парах // «Соционика, ментология и психология личности»,
Киев, 1999, № 1.
- Гуленко В.В., Тыщенко В.П. Юнг в школе. Новосибирск, изд-во НГУ, 1997.
- Леонгард К. Акцентуированные личности. Киев, «Вища школа», 1981.
- Леонтьев А.Н. Деятельность, сознание, личность. Москва, 1975.
- Платон. Лисид.
- Таланов В.Л. Новые представления о физиологическом механизме и локализации
базисных юнговских функций // «Соционика, ментология и психология личности»,
Киев, 2002, No. 4
- Филатова Е.С. Личность в зеркале соционики. СПБ, «Б&К», 2001.
- Филатова Е.С. Соционическая статистика для 299 женщин, мужчин и их
детей // «Соционика, ментология и психология личности», Киев, 2000, №
- Юнг К.Г. Психологические типы. СПБ, «Ювента», 1995.