• Socionics Information Elements Primer

    Information Elements: A Primer

    Eight Elements as Leading Functions

    Black (Extraverted) Intuition
    shorthand designation: Ne

    Perceives information about objects' potential energy — for example, information about the physical and mental abilities and potential of a person. This perception implies the ability to understand the structure of objects and phenomena and grasp their inner substance. This element determines a person's ability or inability to see the real potential energy of one's surroundings.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual has pronounced cognitive interests. He is constantly studying underlying phenomena, which he is able to communicate to others quite successfully by making complicated things simple [!! not all are able to explain things well]. Likes to explain to others his understanding of things. In favorable conditions becomes a scientist or writer [!! not necessarily true]. Is able to find optimal ways of increasing objects' potential energy. "Energizes" others with his understanding of the potential energy of surrounding objects.

    Black (Extraverted) Ethics
    shorthand designation: Fe

    Perceives information about processes taking place in objects — first of all, emotional processes that are taking place in people, their excitation or subduedness, and their moods. This perceptual element implies the ability to know what excites people, and what suppresses them. It defines a person's ability or inability to control his emotional state, and also the emotional states of other people.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual has the innate ability to induce or convey his moods to others and energize people with his emotions. He is able to activate the psychological/spiritual lives of other people and their emotional readiness for action. You might say that such a person has the ability to infect others with his moods and tends to impose on others the emotional states that he considers beneficial for their life activities.

    What people usually call emotions or a person's display of emotions is neither more nor less than a form of letting out this internal excitation directly, almost without expending it in muscle activity. A cheerful person who laughs releases an emotional charge and inner excitation through certain movements of the muscles of the face and body. This might be a means for reducing overexcitement, when inner exertion cannot be used for the activity it was intended for. But it can also be a conscious method of conveying one's excitement/agitation to others — inducing one's internal excitement/agitation in the psyches of other people. Anger, for example, is also a way of reducing overexcitement, but it is usually directed not at arousing others emotionally, but at emotionally suppressing and depleting them, at lowering their activity level, or at strictly channeling their activity.

    Black (Extraverted) Sensing
    shorthand designation: Se

    Perceives information about what might be called objects' "kinetic energy" — for example, information about how organized/mobilized a person is, his physical energy and power, and his ability to make use of his willpower or position and exercise his will in opposition to others'. This perception implies the ability to tell what reserves of "kinetic energy" people have and how useful they can be in getting things done. It defines the individual's ability or inability to exercise his willpower and energy in opposition to the will and energy of other people.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual possesses exceptional personal force/will. He is a born organizer of anything. He has the ability to mobilize people to achieve a goal and is able to make use of and manage animate and inanimate objects. Is able to work with things (objects) and reproduce almost any objects based on available samples. This is a reflection of his ability to organize material. These people are known for their striving to materialize their will, energy, and power, and for their desire to impose their will on others.

    Black (Extraverted) Logic
    shorthand designation: Te

    Perceives information about animate and inanimate objects' physical activity, deeds, and actions/activities. This perception provides the ability to make sense of what is going on. It defines the awareness of and ability or inability to think up ways of doing things, distinguish rational actions from irrational ones, and the ability or inability to direct others' work.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual has the ability to plan his and others' work, understand the logicalness and illogicalness of processes, and correct the work activities of other people in accordance with this understanding. And the ability to apply personally and convey to others the most rational ways of doing things. [!! emphasis on 'work' here may be inadequate, especially when you consider people of these types who are scientists, artists, and musicions]

    White (Introverted) Intuition
    shorthand designation: Ni

    All processes take place in time; they have their roots in the past and their continuation in the future. Time is the correlation between events that follow each other. This perceptual element provides information about the sequence of events and people's deeds, about their cause and effect relationship, and about participants' attitudes towards this — that is, about people's feelings that these relationships engender.

    Such an individual perceives information from without as feelings about the future, past, and present. For example, a sense of hurriedness, calmness, or heatedness, a sense of timeliness or prematureness, a sense of proper or improper life rhythm, a sense of impending danger or safety, anticipation, fear of being late, a sense of seeing the future, anxiety about what lies ahead, and so forth. At any given moment of one's life one has such a sense of time. One cannot live outside of time or be indifferent toward it. Thus, a certain sense of time is an integral part of the individual's psychological state at any given moment. This perceptual element defines a person's ability or inability to forecast and plan for the future, evade all sorts of troubles, avoid taking wrong actions, and learn from past experience.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual possesses innate strategic abilities and is able to choose the most optimal moments for different activities: when to give battle, if necessary, and when to avoid battle, when that would be more appropriate. Interaction in time might be interpreted as the ability to avoid collisions with objects and hence avoid objects' reflection within oneself.

    White (Introverted) Sensing
    shorthand designation: Si

    An object's internal state we view as the relationship between events that cause each other [!! unclear description]. This element perceives information about how processes are reflected in one's internal state — people's sense of health and sensations that are caused by processes taking place. Interaction in space is essentially the response of one object to another. Objects respond to other objects, creating certain sensations in each other. Such an individual perceives information from without as sensations related to what is happening. For example, the sensation of pain is essentially the reflection in a person's brain of a relationship between his functioning body and a process occurring in some part of the body that impedes this functioning.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual has the ability to change the qualities of the surrounding space and the sensations of people who are located within it. He is able to avoid physical discomfort and protect others from discomfort. This element determines the ability to recreate previously experienced aesthetic sensations — to recreate an object that provides one with aesthetic sensations that the author chooses. These people are able to distinguish previously experienced aesthetic sensations from new ones and are able to "collect" and remember them. This also implies the ability to set one's aesthetic and sensory needs in opposition to others' and demand their gratification, the ability to mould and perfect not only one's own aesthetic tastes and habits, but also those of other people. We might say that such individuals have the ability to impose their understanding of aesthetics and comfortable living on other people. [!! emphasis on 'aesthetics' here is inadequate]

    White (Introverted) Logic
    shorthand designation: Ti

    We shall call 'logical' those feelings that arise in the process of comparing one object to another on the basis of any objective parameter — for example, a feeling of distance, weight, volume, worth, strength, quality, etc. These are feelings of objective evaluation that in certain situations help activate or passivate the person experiencing them. Such an individual perceives information from without as a sense of objects' proper or improper correlation/proportion, a sense of balance or imbalance between them, or an awareness or unawareness of the advantages of one object over another. This also includes all feelings that results from knowing or not knowing objects and phenomena — curiosity, respect, fear, and a sense of the logicalness or illogicalness of things, as well as a sense of one's own power or powerlessness before different objects.

    All these feelings we shall call logical. Their sum is a person's sense of logic. People have differently developed senses of logic. We might say that logical feelings convey information about the knowledge or lack of knowledge of objects, their comparability or incomparability, and the balance or lack of balance between them, as well as about space and objects' position in space. They are objective because they do not take into consideration the interests and needs of people, but only correlations of objective qualities. This perceptual element determines a person's ability or inability to see the objective, logical relations between objects or their components.

    When this element is in the leading position, the individual has the ability to logically evaluate interrelations of objective static reality, or the world of objects. He also the ability to change according to his desires the interrelations between the characteristics of various objects and hence influence the objects themselves that carry these characteristics. Correct evaluation of one's interrelations with other objects helps the individual know which objects should be avoided, and which can be "hunted." Such an individual is able to set his logic — or his knowledge of objectifiable reality, patterns, laws, and correlations of the objective world — in opposition to others' knowledge. He has the ability to mould and perfect not only his own knowledge of objectifiable reality, but also that of other people. This creates a feeling of power when clashing with other people's logic or lack thereof.

    White (Introverted) Ethics
    shorthand designation: Fi

    This is the subjective relationship between two carriers of potential or kinetic energy that shows the level of attraction (or repulsion) between one object or subject and another object or subject. Thanks to this IM element a person feels which objects attract him and which repel him. You might say that this perceptual element conveys information about objects' need or lack of need of each other and about the presence or absence of mutual or one-way needs.

    Such an individual perceives information about this facet of objective reality the individual perceives as a need for certain objects that satisfy physical wishes/desires, psychological or spiritual desires, and a need for other people — in other words, a person's wishes/desires and interests that are directed toward animate and inanimate objects. This includes feelings of like and dislike, love and hatred, the desire to obtain some thing/object, etc., and greed or the absense of greed. The higher feelings of this kind can be called ethical, because relationships between people's needs are mainly regulated by ethical normals.

    When this perceptual element is in the leading position, the individual possesses the innate ability to perceive and evaluate wishes/desires — both his own and others'. He always knows who wants what from whom. He is able to set his awareness of subjective reality and his wishes in opposition to those of others. He has the ability to mould and perfect both his own and others' wishes. He possesses both the ability to provide himself with necessary relationships with others and confidence in his capacity to influence other people. His correct perception of human needs allows him to avoid risky collisions when satisfying his own needs. This engenders the ability to manipulate people's attachments, and the ability and desire to influence people's ethical feelings and bring these feelings closer to societal ideals.

    On Symbols of Information Elements

    We have represented black sensing with the symbol — a figure that suggest the fullest contact with the external world. Intuition is a triangle , which fits perfectly into a circle. Logic and ethics are the external form and the internal content of the same process. Therefore, if we represent logic with a square — a symbol of strict reasoning — then a symbol that fits into a square must be chosen to represent the internal aspect of the same process. Thus was born a square without one corner — .

    We will assign corresponding field elements the same symbols, only with a different color: .

    Source: http://www.socionics.us/works/socion2.shtml#1

    Augusta's Descriptions of Information Elements

    Opposition to and reflection of reality
    First, a bit of philosophy...

    We live in a world of animate and inanimate objects. The first are more complex than the latter. In addition, in our view, the first form closed systems that attempt to withstand the rest of the world and thus in a way duplicate its parameters. In other words, their bodies and psyches can and do reflect the entire external environment in all its complexity. What is living puts itself in opposition to external reality, while what is lifeless blends with it.

    Now Augusta introduces the concept of 'bodies' and 'fields' (from physics), which relate to extraverted and introverted aspects of reality.

    'Direct' interaction of bodies — or collisions — are a rare phenonemon. 'Catastrophes' in space are rare only because heavenly bodies interact "from afar," by means of fields. Living organisms also interact through fields. From an observer's viewpoint, an organism's field is the sum of all interrelations between one object and other objects. The individual psyche perceives this interaction as all manner of internal feelings.

    Each organism receives two sorts of information from its surroundings:

    - sensations/impressions that form into perceptions and convey information about the qualities and states of bodies
    - sensations/impressions that form into feelings and convey information about fields

    The information that a person's psyche is able to perceive, and its quantity and quality, is determined by the stimuli-providing environment, as well as the quality, strength, development, and training of the systems receiving the information. A person with sharp vision, acute hearing, or well-developed sense of smell finds out more about external reality.

    Augusta emphasizes the importance of understanding the role of fields. [*NOTE: Her use of the word feeling is not to be confused with ethics, or 'feeling' as a psychic function]

    ... A person's feelings — the subject of psychology — are nothing other than a manifestation of this same field. Half of humanity — all introverts — are oriented in reality not towards objects, but towards their feelings — their relation to objects.

    Eight facets of reality

    In the psyche [these facets] clearly differentiate from one another and even differ in their degree of awareness. The individual uses them differently. In addition, one particular perceptual element of bodies in extraverts and one perceptual element of fields in introverts is leading.

    Four perceptual elements of bodies (with their symbols):

    — Perception of the appearance and shape of an object
    — Perception of the inner content and structure of an object
    — Perception of the external dynamics of an object — its movements in space
    — Perception of the internal dynamics of an object — the changes taking place within it

    Four perceptual elements of relations (with their symbols):

    — Perception of the internal situation of an object
    — Perception of time
    — Perception of an object's position in space
    — Perception of an object's attraction and repulsion

    These are the four components of relations of objects with other objects. Or — four different ways of correlating them. How an object fits into the context of other objects is defined by these four relations.

    To summarize, we can say that introverted intuition (time) and introverted sensing (internal state) are two forms of interaction between processes (an object in a process) and that introverted ethics (attraction of an object) and introverted logic (awareness of the positions of objects in space) are two forms of interaction between objects (an object at rest). The first two we will call irrational elements after Jung, and the second two rational.

    The leading perceptual function defines one's type of intellect, because it implies the ability to reconstruct through this particular aspect everything once learned or experienced. Here are more detailed descriptions of the perceptual elements and the characteristics of people with them as their leading functions. For convenience Augusta calls these elements "black" or "white," or characteristics of bodies (objects) or fields, respectively.

    Theoretical Properties of Information Elements

    One of the most fundamental concepts in socionics is the idea of information elements, or facets of reality. The idea is that reality can be divided into categories that different individuals perceive with differing degrees of clarity and precision. These information elements correspond to Jung's 8 psychic functions, but have been given a new meaning. If there are 8 possible different "leading functions" that perceive different aspects of reality, then reality can itself be described in terms of these 8 different aspects. This was a critical step in the development of socionics that led to everything else. Socionics makes a distinction between information elements (facets of external reality) and psychic functions (positions in the socionic model of the psyche).

    Socionics founder Augusta and her associates viewed reality as consisting of both objects and fields (interrelationships between objects), statics and dynamics (rest and motion), and internal and external qualities. The most abstract possible simplification of the 8 information elements is given here (with the symbols that were given to them):

    Ne, extraverted intuition = internal statics of objects
    Se, extraverted sensing = external statics of objects
    Te, extraverted logic = external dynamics of objects
    Fe, extraverted ethics = internal dynamics of objects
    Ni, introverted intuition= internal dynamics of fields
    Si, introverted sensing = external dynamics of fields
    Ti, introverted logic = external statics of fields
    Fi, introverted ethics = internal statics of fields

    Objects: Things that can be observed, studied, and discussed apart from the subject (observer).
    Fields: Things that are perceived through the subject by means of feelings and cannot be studied apart from the subject.

    These descriptions, like many other logical reductions in socionics, are probably useful only at the most abstract level — in order to see that the 8 information elements are 'deep' characteristics of reality that go beyond easily quantifiable categories. Below is a more extended description of the information elements and how they translate into human perception.

    (breakdown of elements) symbol name of element code description

    characteristics of objects and their motion — "extraverted" elements

    static, irrational elements (objects at rest)

    Ne Extraverted intuition potentiality intuition internal content of objects

    potentiality of objects: inherent possibilities, purpose, abilities, talents, content, values

    Se Extraverted sensing volitional sensing external situation of objects

    outward traits of objects: form, shape, strength, power, readiness, willpower, mobilization, the location of objects in space

    dynamic, rational elements (objects in motion)

    Te Extraverted logic algorithmic logic external activity of objects

    external activity of objects: events (what, how, where), activity, behavior, algorithms

    Fe Extraverted ethics emotive ethics internal activity of objects internal activity of objects: internal processes, mood, emotional activity and arousability, emotional content

    characteristics of fields (interaction between objects) and their motion — "introverted" elements

    dynamic, irrational elements (fields in motion)

    Ni Introverted intuition temporal intuition abstract processes of fields intangible connections between processes separated in time and space: sense of when things might happen, patterns of events, abstract representations of processes
    Si Introverted sensing experiential sensing concrete processes of fields tangible connections between processes happening in one place and time: how events affect one's inner state; sensations, what one experiences physically

    static, rational elements (fields at rest)

    Ti Introverted logic structural logic objective situation of fields logical relationships between objects: systems of rules and categories, hierarchies, comparisons of quantifiable properties, logical judgments
    Fi Introverted ethics relational ethics subjective situation of fields subjective relationships between objects: feelings of attraction and repulsion, like and dislike, need and antipathy; morals, subjective judgments

    The socionic model of the psyche has 8 psychic functions for all 8 information elements. In other words, all 8 kinds of information are perceived by every type, but with different degrees of clarity and objectivity. This is reflected by the positioning of each information element in the socionic model of the psyche, i.e. which function relates to which information element. This is an improvement over Jung's typology and the MBTI system, which only talk of four functions per type. The presence of all 8 functions in each type model means that an individual's perceptual range is not limited to only 'objects' or only 'fields,' but includes each facet of reality. For example, the "ego block" — or "self-realization block" — of each type consists of one extraverted element and one introverted element.

    That being said, perception is dominated by the leading function, which provides the basis for much of personality. The leading function is paradoxically taken for granted and not particularly prized by the individual, since it requires little effort to develop. Only by performing increasingly complex tasks with the leading function can a person come to recognize its worth and gain satisfaction from using it.

    The concrete content of the 8 information elements can best be understood by studying people who have these elements as their leading functions. Each information element is the leading function of two socionic types. For example, black sensing is the leading function of both SEE and SLE (sensing ethical extravert and sensing logical extravert).

    Related discussions and articles:

    Information elements - Wikisocion
    Aspects in the Valued Functions by Dmitry Golihov
    Information Elements: Descriptions by Functions
    Blocks and Functions of the Socionic Model of the Psyche
    Model A
    About Aspects and Functions in Socionics by Prokofieva
    Psychological Types by C. G. Jung
    What the IEs are not
    Information Element Descriptors
    Socionix IE Write-Up collection

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