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Psychological functions and Information metabolism models
by Tatyana Prokofieva and Marina Kuzmina
In the previous article we told you, dear readers, about the connection between socionics and psychology. And now it’s time to describe the connection between socionics and informatics, to tell you about that information system which, as it tuned out, all of us have. Recently people could not even imagine that there is some kind of a “trip computer” in our psyche which determines our talents, preferences, spheres of interest, professional inclinations, the mode of life. The ability to know it in details helps to consciously manage our life, not to make same mistakes again and again, to secure ourselves against troubles in time.
What do we know about the exchange processes?
There is a term in biology – metabolism, which literally means exchange, assimilation and processing. The food received by an organism is decomposed into numerous components and gets into cells. In other words, the physiological process of energy metabolism means the exchange of materials (metabolism) and the biological level of an organism’s life.
The Polish psychiatrist, A. Kempinsky, has compared energetic metabolism (EM) to assimilation and processing the information by a human psyche. The essence of his information metabolism (IM) theory is the fact that outer information signals are similar to foods. By analogy with the energy metabolism of the cells Kempinsky showed that information is perceived by certain channels of a human psyche, assimilates, accumulates, is kept there, then is transformed and partially goes out to interact with the outer world, and some part of it remains inside and makes the person’s inner world. A. Kempinsky introduced the following image: “The human psyche is fed with the information. His mental health depends of the quantity and quality of this information”.
Information metabolism is the process of assimilating, processing and transferring information by the human psyche.
· That is why socionics has the second name of the information metabolism theory.
By analogy with the natural cell metabolism, the information flow coming to a person is decomposed into separate components by the human psyche. But only a certain channel, not at random, but exactly tuned into each of these components, is responsible for receiving and processing this information. In this connection A. Augustinavichuite writes: “C.G. Jung’s discovery is the discovery of the selection mechanism of signals perceived by the psyche. This mechanism can be called an information metabolism (IM) code or the rules of the language with the help of which information is transferred”.
Mental type determines the way of receiving information from the outer world by an individual and the selection of this information. The certain individual psyche structure determines the certain kind of “filtration system” for information processing. These are Jung’s functions (logics, ethics, intuition, sensorics). Dominant functions ensure a larger volume of information processed that weak ones.
Let’s imagine a mathematics class. The teacher gives a flow of abstract, logical information: formulas, parabolas, sines and cosines. They get to the strong functions of logics to one of the students (for example, a representative of the “logical-intuitive introvert” type) and to the weak function of another one (for example, a representative of the “sensoric-ethical extravert” type). Naturally, the first one will easily understand and remember the proof structure, and the second one will have a hard time doing that. If they would like to discuss their impressions after the lesson, it will turn out that they took the lesson differently. One of them liked logical conclusions and constructions, and the other remembered only epithets and comparisons made by the teacher, beauty and flow of the lines, especially if they have been drawn with colourful chalks.
In different perception of one kind of information there is the difference between the personality types.
· Due to the fact that differences in personality types are just differences in information signals exchange with the environment, personality types can be called the information metabolism types (IM types).
Combination of C.G. Jung’s typology and A. Kempinsky’s information metabolism theory became the fundamental discovery in socionics. That is A. Augustinavichuite’s contribution. Now we can introduce another definition of socionics:
Socionics is a science of information metabolism types and of intertype relationships.
As every other science, socionics has its own subject of studies and its own method.
· The subject of socionics is the studies of information exchange processes between a person and the environment and their effect on the person’s psyche.
· Socionics method is information metabolism type diagnostics on Jung’s basis and socionics models.
Information metabolism types
On the pages of earlier publications we tried to trace the differences in details on every socionic dichotomy: extraversion – introversion, logics – ethics, intuition – sensorics, rationality – irrationality.
The dichotomies can be described in another way answering the following questions:
Which world determines our vital activities?
The inner world – the outer world
· (extraverts) (introverts)
Which type of information do we easier perceive?
Concrete information – Abstract information
· (sensorics) (intuits)
Which world is better for us: of objective rules or human relationships?
Objective rules – Human relationships
· (logics) (ethics)
How do we arrange our life?
Steadily moving to the goal – Sensitively react to changes
· (rationals) (irrationals)
In human psyche all the four features united in pairs are represented. Nevertheless, each of us uses only one part of each pair more surely and freely, perception on the other one is inadequate and accompanied by difficulties. Here we can draw the analogy with the right and left hands. Thus, the right-handed people better manipulate with the right hand but that does not mean that they do not use the left one at all. The left-handed people do all the main work with their left hand but the right hand is a very important aid for them.
It is not by chance that we have returned to the previous material for by that we have closely come to the most important and at the same time the most complicated matter – combining together the data received in the diagnostic process and thus identifying the information Table 1.
[Table 1. 16 types of IM. Not included in this post.]
Aushra Augustinavichuite suggested using two symbols for marking the type. These symbols you can see in the last column of the table. What are these symbols and why are they used to mark the type? Now we will talk about that.
A. Augustinavichuite did not stop at describing the information metabolism type by dichotomies. She was sure that certain peculiarities of the human psyche are not described by them. That is why the Lithuanian scientist made the next step in socionicsdevelopment: she paid attention to the work of the functions described by Jung in the person’s informationsystem. Shesuggested considering first every Jung’s function in its extraverted and introverted variants. And she also introduced their symbols .
Socionic functions process information about the world. Each function is “responsible” for “its own” information. And what is the way to understand which information refers to which function? Let’s look at the table for that (table 2).
[Table 2. Socionic functions. Not included in post]
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One of the main socionics achievements is modeling of the human psyche structure. In Jung’s time this was beyond scientists’ power as no mathematic modeling existed then. There are no any serious models in western type watching as well coming from Jung directly but adding almost nothing to his theory. Here our scientists have turned to be “ahead of the whole planet”.
Aushra Augustinavichuite has constructed a model consisting of eight functions arranged in a certain order. These are all the eight functions described in table 2. Thus, at present the integral personality psyche is represented in socionics. The model shows how we process all the information about the world. Some functions (strong ones) process the larger volume of information, the other (weak ones) – much less. But we see, hear, perceive all of it. That is why all the eight functions are represented in the model.
Strength and consciousness of each function is defined by its place in the model.
Constructing a type model starts the same way as construction of the fairy matrix: the strongest and conscious functions of the type are placed in the first and the second cells. Further, the law of socionic functions alternation by extraversion and introversion comes into force: if the function in the first cell is black, the second will necessarily be white, the third will be black, the fourth – white. And at the same time the second law works: alternation of the functions by rationality – irrationality: if the first function is rational, then the second will be irrational, the third one – rational, the fourth – irrational. Look at the pictures how the models for analyzed by us ILI and LIE are filled.
To construct the 5 th, 6 th, 7 th and the 8 th cells it is important to remember that they are mirror reflection of the first four only with the changed colours of the symbols. Let’s imagine. That this model is a sheet of paper. Let’s fold it by the line between the 3 – 4 th and 5 – 6 th cells. We will see that the 1 st and the 2 nd cells will be mirror to the 7 th and the 8 th, and the 3 rd and the 4 th cells will mirror the 5 th and the 6 th with the difference in colours by extraversion – introversion.
Intuitive-logical introvert (ILI):
Logical-intuitive extravert (LIE):
The first four cells are referred to the conscious functions, they include the things a person more often thinks and talks about. The cells from the 5 th to the 8 th are referred to subconscious. These functions are rarely shown in speech, more often they can be seen in behaviour, instinctively, without discussions. As we know, there is social and biological side in us. The first four cells are connected with our social manifestations, the second signal system (thinking and speech). The last four cells is biological in us, is connected with the first signal system (instincts).
Now we will describe each of the eight functions by its place in the cells of the model.
Strong conscious functions (by Z. Freud’s theory – Ego) – these are the first and the second ones – reflect the main things in the type essence. They represent the zone of confidence. A person chooses his goals in life and the means to reach them by these functions. Basing on the first functions a career should be recommended.
The first function is basic, the base of a personality and intellect of a person. He receives the information in it adequately and can play a role of an expert on matters connected with this function.
The second function is creative. Here a person can easily assimilate information and often generates it himself and acts as a critic.
Weak conscious functions (by Z. Freud’s theory – Superego) – the third and the fourth. They serve for a person’s adapting in a society. Here the social rules and expectations are important. A person is never sure in the contents of these functions as he is not sure in his compliance with the social demands.
The third function is the role one. A person plays a role to adapt himself in unusual conditions, tries to be bright in this function.
The fourth function is a painful point, the place of the least resistance. It is difficult to perceive information in this function adequately, to work creatively here, that is why it is better not to criticize a person on the matters connected with it. Even praise is hard to receive on the painful point. Here we can draw an analogy with physical pain: it is better not to touch the place which is hurt at all – neither for the purpose of stroking nor pricking.
Weak subconscious functions (Superid) – the fifth and the sixth ones. The weak unconscious functions are pliable, are rules with information getting from outside, are easily subjected to suggestion, programming. Information on them is taken non-critically, with trust and is remembered without any analysis. Here a person needs help but he studies easily and effectively in these functions. A person accepts information and help on these functions gratefully. If you feel like making a present for a person, do it on the fifth and the sixth functions.
The fifth function is suggestive.“Entering gates” for information. It is considered that we receive information on it from the outer world to process it later in our conscious with the help of other functions.
The sixth function if referent. The weak function unfit for creative work. However studying on this function goes so easily that can give good results. On this function a person is guided by the referent group opinion without opposing himself to it. He reacts to the tone of the talk. The function needs to be comfortably provided for as a person finds it difficult to resist the circumstances.
The strong subconscious functions (Id) are the seventh and the eighth. The contents of these functions is rarely thought of by a person, there is almost no creative work on them, but the decisions are made immediately, generated on the subconscious level without unnecessary words and reasoning. The strength of these functions and the speed of their involvement determine the zone of subconscious confidence of a person. These functions more often join in an extreme situation when there is no time for thinking or in usual everyday situations when the routine work does not demand “brain joining in”.
The seventh function is limiting, framing. This is the strongest function with every person. With the help of it he can guard himself from any unwanted influence, reduce the excessive activities of the environment. But the person himself can be limited on his own seventh function: this disarms him and does not leave means.
The eighth function is bringing plans to life without words. It is almost always in work, and makes the background of the whole person’s life. One should not strive for creative work here but that is the reliable support for the person in any situations.
The above mentioned model is called Model A in socionics. It got its name after its discoverer A. Augustinavichuite. This model is used for exact psychological type diagnostics, for discovering a person’s capabilities and analysis of problems. It is also the base of intertype relationships diagnostics (relationships between personality types in a family, work team).