• Visual Type Identification

    Visual Type Identification

    © Victor Talanov, 2001.

    © 2003 Dmitri Lytov, translation from Russian, 2003.
    © Lev Kamensky, edition of the translation, 2004.

    Disclaimer: this article represents the author’s preliminary conclusions, and thus cannot be used as a type detection methodology.

    The author's conclusions are based mostly on E. Filatova's series of type portraits.


    Testing in the absence of questionnaires means that the typer needs to be able to "visually" detect four binary dimensions of the individual being typed: extroversion/introversion, intuition/sensation, logic/ethics, and rationality/irrationality. This method in certain cases yields more accurate results than questioning the subject in written or verbal form: when the subject possesses sufficient psychological information and is able to intentionally distort the results; when the subject is unintentionally able to distort the outcome by assuming a different role or persona; when the client has low IQ or for some other reasons cannot give valid answers to the questionnaire; when a questionnaire is badly validated and does not have correcting scales (e.g. Keirsey Temperament Sorter); when the client is too young and his self-understanding of his own behavior in typical situations is limited. Another common case of application of visual type identification is a situation when questioning is impossible; for example, when the typer cannot directly talk to the person being typed.

    Extroversion vs. Introversion

    EXTROVERTS: open look, lively in communication, active, with somewhat superficial curiosity (with no intention to go deeper into the subject), strive to grasp as much as possible, unconstrained gesticulation "from the shoulder on", quick movements, tendency to dominate in interaction and upon contact. In conversations extraverts express impressions about the things they've seen rather than evaluate them.

    INTROVERTS: they are looking "from inside a shell", alert, reserved behavior, submission in contacts, their curiosity slowly awakens (they have a tendency to go progressively deeper into the discussed topic), reserved gesticulation "from the elbow". Introverts express their attitudes rather than facts (I like or dislike; it is ok or not ok, etc.).

    Filatova proposed a simple test for this dichotomy: ask a person to write several sentences expressing associations with such words as "city", "house", "lake". An Extravert will try to make objective characteristics: city – straight streets, multistoried houses, gardens… An Introvert will make remarks such as "I don't like big cities because there is noise and dirt" – in other words, he will instead formulate his attitude.

    Rationality vs. Irrationality

    RATIONALS (dominant T or F): possess certain sharpness and distinction in their well-coordinated movements, there is certain tension in their bearing (rigid back, upright posture). Their gait is straight, motions sharp. When person of a rational type sits down, he keeps his back straight, rarely bends over to the side, even when he leans upon the chair back. There is a tendency to be punctual and rarely late. His speech does not contain cyclical repeats or excessive associative images, is unlikely to contain "Um" between phrases. During conversations this person either does not gesticulate or the gestures appear only after the phrases that these gestures are supposed to "illustrate".

    One characteristic of Rationals, both Logical and Ethical is a dislike of unexpected events and a preference for planning. A Rational knows for sure where he will spend his summer vacations in a couple of months, what he will eat for supper and when he will start on his supper. An Irrational is either not sure or feels like he doesn't want to limit himself with a schedule; he feels at home in the flow of quickly changing and unexpected events.

    The extreme case of rationality means ignoring the reality. A very rational pupil can accurately solve a series of 20 arithmetic problems and not mention that half of them required multiplication instead of addition. An extremely rational person is "abnormally normal" in his expressions: he judges not "what things are" but "what they must be" in his opinion. This is why Rationals usually display an increased rate of false responses on questionnaires, while being quite sure of their own sincerity. Rationality strengthens both T and F functions. For this reason sometimes Rational Feeling types in practice may exhibit greater logic and better business skills than some Irrational Thinking types.

    IRRATIONALS (dominant S or N): their whole appearance seems "fluid", loose, their body easily bends, takes the shape of the arm-chair, sofa etc…; when they sit down, they may lean upon the chair elbow-rests or back, their own back may bend a lot. Their gait is floating, rolling, soaring, their motions may make impression of being unexpected or poorly coordinated. When an Irrational stands, some parts of his body are moving "separately from the others" – hands, fingers, torso, or head. It is difficult for an Irrational to keep his body in a steady position. They do not like long meetings, reports, or performances – in the duration, they often want to "leave for a minute to have a cigarette", distract themselves, or take a nap.

    Their speech contains cyclical repeats i.e. when they complete a thought, it is as if they recall something and come back to what they already said; it is often either too slow (introverts) or tangled and "stumbling" (extraverts). Compared to Rationals, it more often contains parasite words ("here", "um", "like", "you know" etc). Their phrases are lacking in verbs (this is especially characteristic of intuitive irrationals), are often preceded by "Um", or by hand gestures, as if they are catching something in the air – from aside it looks as if the person is trying to find the right verbal form for the image he has already created in his mind. Irrationals like an abundance of sensory impressions, especially visual, and get tired of lengthy conversations.

    Translator's note : the meaning of "rationality-irrationality" in colloquial language is somewhat different from the original Jung's (and socionic) understanding of this term. The colloquial meaning of this word pair should be attributed rather to another dichotomy, logic-ethic (or T/F in the Myers-Briggs theory).

    Although the J/P dichotomy in Myers-Briggs theory resembles rationality-irrationality by its description, they are not the same. As it has been proven by Gregory Shulman, J/P is not dichotomy i.e. it does not split the 16 types into two equal parts. It is a pseudo-dichotomy that represents two poles with multiple transitional options; in other words, one or two types in socionics may be called "super-J", and another one or two types "super-P", while other types will be in between these poles. This explains, for example, why ENFp or ENFj in socionics may both get scored ENFP according to MBTI, etc.

    One more remark: according to I.Myers' hypothesis, rationals correspond to EJ and IP types, while irrationals - to EP and IJ types. However, socionic statistics disproves her hypothesis and speaks rather in favor of identification of J/P with rationality/irrationality (although not 100%, as it was said above)

    Logic vs. Ethic (or Thinking vs. Feeling in MBTI)

    LOGICAL: his face is contemplative; emotions are contrasting; his interests are related to objective reality. Eyebrows are lower compared to the Ethical types and approach eyes. Look is somewhat dull, "without a glimmer". Sensing Logicians, though, may have a fixed and attentive look, but most of the time it remains cold and unlively. Their emotional dynamics are only vaguely reflected on the face, but can manifest in voice modulations. Very often Logical types make the impression of being unflappable. They pay attention to facts and possess great erudition. Often they allow themselves to make unethical remarks, because "they want to say the truth". Their speech, compared to Ethical types, is more strict, "dry", and logically relevant; it may include foreign words or special terminology. They easily operate long complex or compound sentences.

    ETHICAL: their faces are changeable depending on their mood, and exhibit a spectrum of feelings and shades of emotions. Their interest often lies in people and their relationships. Their own mood is depended on the mood of others. They are sensitive, even touchy. They often have a smile on their faces. Eyebrows are often raised over their eyes, and even bent upwards. To a Logical type, the speech of an Ethical type to be fragmentary, as if built on hints. However, the "hints" of the Ethical types can be distinguished from the associations made by Intuitive Logical type in that they lack the "second associative layer". Their seeming incompleteness is perceived by the Ethical type himself as total completeness: he has marked an object with certain emotionally colored words and thus gave it a full characterization – "why cannot others understand then what I meant?"

    When they are speaking of somebody, Ethical types make personal evaluations and qualitative estimations: "good", "bad"; by contrast, Logical types prefer to avoid personal estimations and instead express only facts.

    Sensation vs. Intuition

    SENSING: Sensors look well groomed; their clothes are selected with taste; their hair and fingernails are in order. Women Sensors often have perfect manicure and makeup. Their gaze is focused and attentive, as though scanning their conversation partner's eyes or the surrounding space. Their interests in conversations are often practical (career, money, renting a new apartment, purchasing a new TV, house, car, etc.). Sensors like to talk to their partners about the progress in their common activities – this is because they, unlike Intuitives, cannot easily replenish missing information by their imagination, and so they strive to be always informed about what's going on, to keep the situation under their control. Their workplace is usually supplied and orderly, but sometimes contains things necessary only for enhancing the appearance of the place. In general, the Sensory function endows a person with sound egocentrism, and practical thinking, and relation to the necessities of the real life – and respectively, presence of such traits allows us to conclude that the person's a Sensor.

    INTUITIVE: they are keen on talking about ideas rather than practical needs; they don't live in the "here-and-now" reality but rather in themes and general topics. Intuitive types often have a defocused look that looks into the distance, into infinity, somewhere above or through the partner, which is especially observable in their photographs. In conversations, Intuitive tends to make generalizations; often he perceives in larger, universal scale scale but does not easily pick up on smaller things. Very often Intuitives are negligent in dress, their rooms are disorderly. Their speech, compared with Sensors, is more associative-figurative, often with humor or irony, rich in adjectives and nouns, but poor in verbs.

    Filatova proposed a simple test for this dichotomy: show a picture containing many details for about 10 seconds. A Sensor will have easier time listing the concrete details by heart. An Intuitive will describe only few and in generalities, may mention large-scale details but won't mention the "trifles".

    In addition to the markers of the 4 Jungian dichotomies (S/N, T/F etc.), each of the 16 sociotypes has its own integral features manifesting in their behavior, look, body language, face shape, positioning of face wrinkles etc.

    Literature (in parentheses – language and year of publication):

    Filatova E.S. Personality in the Mirror of Socionics (Russian, 2001).

    Filatova E.S. Socionics in Portraits (Russian, 1996).

    Talanov V.L., Malkina-Pykh I.G. Practical Psychologist’s Manual (Russian, 2002).

    source: http://www.socioniko.net/en/...ov-visual.html

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