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Thread: What socionics is and what it is not

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    Default What socionics is and what it is not

    Here's a sum up of my conclusions on socionics.

    First the thing that everyone knows and accepts: socionics is a theory that talks about abstract constructions that are based on arbitrarily discerned patterns. These patterns do not exist in any objectively measured way in reality. (And no, VI is not an objective tool. there is no proven causal link between facial structure and functions.)

    But my issue is bigger than the lack of an objective tool. There are several unfounded assumptions before even getting to the point of considering to develop an objective measurement. Here's just some example issues at the conceptualization level.

    There is an assumption that information elements determine a big part of communication. Nope. Communication between people is based on something more complex than abstract information elements or functions. The framework of evolution theory works better to explain human communication (too long to get into details here about that).

    There is another common assumption, that is, if information elements are a certain way of information processing (which statement is fine on its own, but only until you try to get into details!) then there is very high correlation and in some cases even a direct causal link between the functions and between all the known cognitive elements, personality traits and/or concrete behaviour elements. This is simply not true, either in an absolute or a relative way.

    Basically, the concept of these functions is an attempt to group many observable elements together. But in reality, there is just a brain that processes information in a much more complex way cognitively. To elaborate on this further: for the brain there are many processes to do before it results in something that socionics users attribute to the functions way of information processing. These processes are the building blocks for information processing in the brain. There is no guarantee or proof whatsoever that all these will result in the exact functions as organized on the high level in socionics theory.

    Why no guarantee whatsoever? Well, sure, there are correlations between elements or even personality traits but weak and there is no direct causal link between these correlations. The causes are factors in the background that is not part of the socionics theory. So what this means is that these background factors cause the things that you've observed as being correlated to each other. The things observed are not causing each other, something else is causing them. I am not saying that the correlations are random, obviously they aren't random but that does not constitute a proper explanation. This means you cannot draw real conclusions from this model.

    That's fine, for people-analysing, we do not know that much yet about the brain's complex workings anyway. In practice everyone obviously just uses a few rules for efficient (or not-so-efficient) communication and all the other usual common sense life strategies that are well known outside socionics. As example, here's one generic common sense statement: "people look at the world in a different way". The thing is, socionics itself does not add anything worthwhile to these common sense strategies. It can be a vehicle for some people to hear about strategies and then try to apply these strategies. Basically, people advising other people on psychology issues.

    This is again all fine, just not directly related to the theory. Any kind of applied psychology with very different theories behind does the same job essentially. These theories are very different and yet, still work like socionics does or work even better. Also very important here is that these different workable theories achieve this without adding the extra assumption of the notion of certain detailed concrete types, strictly defined communication styles between types including the duality concept and other things. So how about sticking to occam's razor and discard the superfluous assumptions.

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    Without bothering to read any of it, I can give you a fair supply of wise sentences that might breach this topic:

    1. The map is not the territory.
    2. Psychology is not science, unless we want to exclude the necessity of empirism in the definition of science.
    3. You use paragraphs nicely.
    4. It's all just writ (=strictly defined) on water (=the abstract and relative reality we have).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Without bothering to read any of it, I can give you a fair supply of wise sentences that might breach this topic:

    1. The map is not the territory.
    2. Psychology is not science, unless we want to exclude the necessity of empirism in the definition of science.
    3. You use paragraphs nicely.
    4. It's all just writ (=strictly defined) on water (=the abstract and relative reality we have).
    My writing addresses point 2 just fine. If you'd bother to read it.

    The rest of your list is irrelevant. Unless I misunderstand the first one, what did you mean by it?

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    For those with that goddam short attention span:

    Socionics is:

    - A non-scientific theory talking about weak correlations and not even useful at all as it says nothing new about people in practice.
    - A collection of observations of people. You can read about stereotypes of people, behaviour, interactions, communication styles, nothing new at all.
    - A religion.
    - Etc.

    Socionics isn't:

    - A sound theory organizing the data on people.
    - A revolution in society to improve the way people deal with each other blahblahblah.
    - Etc.

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    For a subjectivist yourself you sure do know how to confuse yourself.

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    Yeah but the thing is ... if you don't know about socionics you'd think there are many different kinds people and in reality they are only 16 with two subtypes each.
    Socionics is just like racism - it makes it easier to decide if it is worth dealing with certain people or it is better to hate them

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    Yeah but the thing is ... if you don't know about socionics you'd think there are many different kinds people and in reality they are only 16 with two subtypes each.
    Socionics is just like racism - it makes it easier to decide if it is worth dealing with certain people or it is better to hate them
    What's wrong with thinking there are many different kinds of people? Why do you think there must be exactly 16 (or 32) of them? See, depending on the assumptions I use, I can see 9, 12, 27, 81, 128, 256, or 1729 types of people.

    What's wrong with listening to your own reactions about whether you want to deal with someone or not.

    See, I don't get the point of racism either. Why waste energy on hating certain people, being indifferent and simply not dealing with them is much easier. But sure, if the feeling of hate feels good for you without any purpose beyond it, keep doing it.

    And no, my intention was not to offend you.

    PS: if you meant it all as a joke, great.

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    It's not all that useless. Not to me anyway.

    I don't know. Like for example, when I look at Ni. I realize how people could have had the same thoughts about god, or why every civilization worshiped him at some point. I'm not gonna explain how, maybe I will write a book on it later in life if I bothered. LOL.

    Usually, I'd have thought "yeah.. fucking humans, they are all stupid. Not surprised." But I would wonder how times haven't changed and so there must some truth to it or some shit. Then I'd read about gods, mythology and other related stuff and would still find it hard to believe. And I end up saying "Fuck it. I don't want to deal with this shit." But then something comes up and makes me wonder again, and etc. Like, we always end up thinking philosophically from time to time.

    Some choose to believe, build their beliefs, others roll with it. The rest do their thing.. and then stuff.

    But I don't know. The concept of Ni as I understand as it, as well as many other information I've gathered all the way, actually do allow me to make some connections and see how humans are built that way and accept it as I have accepted that all humans have bodies, or feelings, or whatever.

    /rant

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    Unless I misunderstand the first one, what did you mean by it?
    The first and the fourth were overlapping actually.

    Okay, socionics is a model and like all models, it is not capable of simultaneously explaining the bigger picture. It just doesn't apply to everything. You have to take multiple models to make a good representation of the world we observe in our daily lives. Maybe if I want to fuck my mother and kill my father, it might be better explained with Freudianism's Oedipus Complex than Socionics' Fi PoLR.

    The point is, however, not to look at model's inaccuracy but to find the parts that might teach us something. Even if I can't empirically prove anyone's typing, my own typing and the assumed types of people around me have given me a good explanations why, why not and/or how is our relationship functioning. But I can still use the other models/patterns for extra accuracy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    Yeah but the thing is ... if you don't know about socionics you'd think there are many different kinds people and in reality they are only 16 with two subtypes each.
    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    What's wrong with thinking there are many different kinds of people?
    Ehh, there are two types of people actually. Those who divide people into two types and those who do not.

    Why do you think there must be exactly 16 (or 32) of them? See, depending on the assumptions I use, I can see 9, 12, 27, 81, 128, 256, or 1729 types of people.
    And that's exactly what I see from Alpha NTs.

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    you are correct. gj.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    The first and the fourth were overlapping actually.

    Okay, socionics is a model and like all models, it is not capable of simultaneously explaining the bigger picture. It just doesn't apply to everything. You have to take multiple models to make a good representation of the world we observe in our daily lives. Maybe if I want to fuck my mother and kill my father, it might be better explained with Freudianism's Oedipus Complex than Socionics' Fi PoLR.

    The point is, however, not to look at model's inaccuracy but to find the parts that might teach us something. Even if I can't empirically prove anyone's typing, my own typing and the assumed types of people around me have given me a good explanations why, why not and/or how is our relationship functioning. But I can still use the other models/patterns for extra accuracy.
    Have you read my condensed version for your shorter attention span? (Post #4 in this thread)

    That (and the original long post too) answers these things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    Yeah but the thing is ... if you don't know about socionics you'd think there are many different kinds people and in reality they are only 16 with two subtypes each.
    Socionics is just like racism - it makes it easier to decide if it is worth dealing with certain people or it is better to hate them
    People fall into those 16 types because the permutation of IEs was designed to be that way, not because there's anything about the number 16 specifically besides that it's 2^4. "In reality" there are only 16 types? No, it's still in theory.

    I think while every intertype relation is flawed (yes, that includes duality, too!), there's something you could learn from all types of people.

    That might be easier for me to say since my being on the border of ESE and SEE makes the difference between dual and conflictor, but whatever. But at the end of the day, people outside the socionics circle aren't going to give a shit what 3 or 4 letters you list yourself as, because interaction in reality depends on so much more than that.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    What's wrong with thinking there are many different kinds of people? Why do you think there must be exactly 16 (or 32) of them? See, depending on the assumptions I use, I can see 9, 12, 27, 81, 128, 256, or 1729 types of people.

    PS: if you meant it all as a joke, great.
    Hai, get out of my mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absurd View Post
    And that's exactly what I see from Alpha NTs.
    And Alpha NT's are the people who actually take that sort of stuff seriously?

    Really, based on that, everyone on this forum excluding me (as I don't believe in 16, 27, etc types) is Alpha NT...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nomenclature View Post
    People fall into those 16 types because the permutation of IEs was designed to be that way, not because there's anything about the number 16 specifically besides that it's 2^4. "In reality" there are only 16 types? No, it's still in theory.

    I think while every intertype relation is flawed (yes, that includes duality, too!), there's something you could learn from all types of people.

    That might be easier for me to say since my being on the border of ESE and SEE makes the difference between dual and conflictor, but whatever. But at the end of the day, people outside the socionics circle aren't going to give a shit what 3 or 4 letters you list yourself as, because interaction in reality depends on so much more than that.

    EDIT:

    Hai, get out of my mind.
    Get out of my mind too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    And Alpha NT's are the people who actually take that sort of stuff seriously?
    I've seen this kind of breaking it into smaller parts done by mostly Alpha NTs. Gulenko, John Do, that guy who called me antichrist (although he self-types IEI).

    Really, based on that, everyone on this forum excluding me (as I don't believe in 16, 27, etc types) is Alpha NT...
    That's complete bollocks but coming from you it doesn't surprise me.

    1) If everyone on this forum is Alpha NT, then you're you're not Alpha NT,

    2) Not everyone on this forum is Alpha NT and that's a fact,

    3) If everyone on this forum isn't alpha NT, then you're Alpha NT.

    That's your wannabe absolutist reasoning and not being able to see the antithesis. Besides I don't know what belief has to do with anything here.

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    Lol Absurd. Or it could mean that not only Alpha NTs do that, whatever it is, I didn't read the previous posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    Lol Absurd. Or it could mean that not only Alpha NTs do that, whatever it is, I didn't read the previous posts.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Absurd View Post
    That's complete bollocks but coming from you it doesn't surprise me.

    1) If everyone on this forum is Alpha NT, then you're you're not Alpha NT,

    2) Not everyone on this forum is Alpha NT and that's a fact,

    3) If everyone on this forum isn't alpha NT, then you're Alpha NT.

    That's your wannabe absolutist reasoning and not being able to see the antithesis. Besides I don't know what belief has to do with anything here.

    Nono, you misunderstood what I said.


    Firstly, It was a joke. But anyhow... here is what it meant. Note, I said "based on that".


    1) "That" = You said you see Alpha NT's as people who like to categorize people into abstract types and you said this in a style that implied only Alpha NT's do so.

    2) I don't like to do that. I never liked to do so, but for some reason I thought socionics was a good theory, but I concluded it is not. I was actually pretty much scratching my head at times "Eh why am I dealing with types now as I usually think of the notion of types as complete nonsense".

    3) Most people visit this forum because they like the notion of types, that is they like to categorize people into abstract types.


    Now see what comes out of this list if the premises are all true.

    1 + 2 = I'm not Alpha NT.

    1 + 3 = Most people on this forum are Alpha NT.


    And my joke: From the above it follows: Many of those "most people" here mistyped themselves as non-Alpha NT (or types do not exist). Plus the part about me being the exact opposite.

    I found the contradiction hilarious. And the thing in "()" is what I really think about this matter.


    Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    Nono, you misunderstood what I said.
    Of course...

    1) "That" = You said you see Alpha NT's as people who like to categorize people into abstract types and you said this in a style that implied only Alpha NT's do so.
    I didn't say that. You just twisted my words now even though they're there black on white saying a different story.

    2) I don't like to do that. I never liked to do so, but for some reason I thought socionics was a good theory, but I concluded it is not. I was actually pretty much scratching my head at times "Eh why am I dealing with types now as I usually think of the notion of types as complete nonsense".
    Tell that to people who said the same on here and are still doing it.

    3) Most people visit this forum because they like the notion of types, that is they like to categorize people into abstract types.
    You don't know what people like nor dislike, especially those whom you didn't have the pleasure to interact with in the first place. That's a far-fetched assumption. As for categorising people everyone is doing it in real life. People go and judge by eyesight alone already and not the other senses when looking for a mate. You don't need socionics for that.

    1 + 2 = I'm not Alpha NT.

    1 + 3 = Most people on this forum are Alpha NT.
    1+2 = I'm not disputing your type. I don't see a point to begin with - I just recalled what I saw,

    1+3 = Hope you have something to support it.

    And my joke: From the above it follows: Many of those "most people" here mistyped themselves as non-Alpha NT (or types do not exist). Plus the part about me being the exact opposite.
    Okay, you think those non-existent Alpha NTs who blab about this theory on and on and invent some fruity concepts to label themselves with and other people, mistyped themselves out of sheer stupidity. Priceless.

    Hope this helps.
    It sure does, not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan View Post
    It's not all that useless. Not to me anyway.

    I don't know. Like for example, when I look at Ni. I realize how people could have had the same thoughts about god, or why every civilization worshiped him at some point. I'm not gonna explain how, maybe I will write a book on it later in life if I bothered. LOL.

    Usually, I'd have thought "yeah.. fucking humans, they are all stupid. Not surprised." But I would wonder how times haven't changed and so there must some truth to it or some shit. Then I'd read about gods, mythology and other related stuff and would still find it hard to believe. And I end up saying "Fuck it. I don't want to deal with this shit." But then something comes up and makes me wonder again, and etc. Like, we always end up thinking philosophically from time to time.

    Some choose to believe, build their beliefs, others roll with it. The rest do their thing.. and then stuff.

    But I don't know. The concept of Ni as I understand as it, as well as many other information I've gathered all the way, actually do allow me to make some connections and see how humans are built that way and accept it as I have accepted that all humans have bodies, or feelings, or whatever.

    /rant
    Sorry, I read this only now. I'm glad if you find some use in it... I don't know if you want to hear my opinion about religions, but in short I think they are made-up concrete explanations of something that can't at this point be put into any kind of concrete terms, if ever. Perhaps through science, perhaps not even through that. I'm fine with it that way. Btw, some buddhist stuff does sound cool, because certain things in buddhism are not as much concrete as most religions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Absurd View Post
    Tell that to people who said the same on here and are still doing it.
    Well I will not be dealing with socionics anymore, so no.


    You don't know what people like nor dislike, especially those whom you didn't have the pleasure to interact with in the first place. That's a far-fetched assumption. As for categorising people everyone is doing it in real life. People go and judge by eyesight alone already and not the other senses when looking for a mate. You don't need socionics for that.
    If I did not interact with someone, then of course I won't know anything about them. So what?

    Non-distinct categories are okay. Human cognition simply works that way. Fun issues when you look closer at how category perception works, however.

    I guess my whatever categories I may have about people are not put together in a theory like this, though. And you are right, socionics is not needed either.


    Okay, you think those non-existent Alpha NTs who blab about this theory on and on and invent some fruity concepts to label themselves with and other people, mistyped themselves out of sheer stupidity. Priceless.
    Please understand it was a JOKE. OK?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    Btw, some buddhist stuff does sound cool, because certain things in buddhism are not as much concrete as most religions.
    Actually, it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    If I did not interact with someone, then of course I won't know anything about them. So what?
    What do I like about socionics?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Absurd View Post
    What do I like about socionics?
    That it is absurd?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    That it is absurd?
    So far I've only found people on here to be absurd with a couple exceptions, though. All in all, ye one can say it is absurd.

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    What Socionics is: a great way to make friends.

    What Socionics isn't: a great way to make friends.

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    It is, and always has been a theory. If you look at it as anything more than that, you'll be disappointed imo. Anecdotal reports suggests it can be used practically, that it works, but that's not evidence. What I've found is that the more material I look at, the more contradictions I find, the more tweaking and adjusting and additions I notice that people have to make to continue to apply it, to where there are actually multiple forms of 'socionics' that may or may not have agreement between them upon models, and type exemplars. There are what, 5 or 6 different models in use besides model A? There are reinin dichotomies which aren't actually dichotomies at all, and when applied change the view of types and how they are defined, and have to be modified to work within any of the models in some cases.

    If you try to take every piece of info available on the topic and put it into a cohesive whole, and say "this is socionics" you can't do it. Things clash and contradict and interpretations can vary widely. You have to throw some things out in order to make it fit. We make guesses and estimates, and sometimes form stereotypes that are extremely unhelpful and retard understanding. Deciding what to keep and what to toss, it's helpful to look at each part individually, and then of those that make sense and work individually, which ones work together. How do they fit, and are they applicable to life? Personally, that's what I'm looking at on my own, answering questions like:

    how do our minds work, how do they filter information, do the IEs exist and how does that work?

    which dichotomies and pseudo-dichotomies are applicable and useful and truly divisible? One thing that I do with reinin dichotomies for example is say, "Can I see a number of people easily and clearly at either end of this division?" If the vast majority of people I can think of are somewhere in the middle, or could be one or the other alternatively where it's muddled and unclear, I toss that dichotomy as useless for typing purposes. It means that you can easily make most people fit whichever category you choose.

    What is type-related and what isn't? What meaningful distinctions can actually be made?

    etc. etc. Obviously the very basics have to be answered first - with the basics being, are there IEs, what are they, are there types, why and how?

    If you determine that okay, IEs exist, or it is very plausible that they do, (btw you never addressed whether IEs exist in your post,) then of course as you pointed out it does not follow that there are direct behavioral correlations, but that's generally understood. Some people don't get that, and sometimes people forget that, but it is already a part of the general understanding of the theory. The assumptions you made are not the assumptions that other people are working from.

    Socionics can be addicting the way gambling is addicting; the payout is random, which drives more intense looking for more answers. I'll elaborate. Gambling is addictive to some people because the reward and subsequent endorphins etc come at unexpected times, meaning at any time there could be a reward, so they don't want to let go of the next try, each one could be the one that pays off. There was this study done on mice that shows they work the same way. They rigged a treat dispenser to either always give a treat, to never give a treat, or to sometimes give one, and sometimes not. The mice with the unpredictable treat dispenser after awhile started compulsively hitting the lever, to the point of abandoning everything else to that pursuit. The ones with the predictable dispensers had no such compulsion. (also applies to why some people stay in bad relationships that have occasional good times, but that's another topic) Socionics is like that unpredictable treat dispenser, or like the slot machine that a person keeps feeding quarters into: sometimes you see something that works, that really seems to apply, that makes sense and you have hope that it's not all a huge waste of time, so you keep looking, keep reading, keep trying to make it work.

    I think that if you're not at that point, and you find it totally useless right now, walking away satisfied in your idea that it has no good purpose whatsoever is the best thing you can do for yourself. You won't find any golden pieces that make you keep looking that way, nor will you do what I do, and sort through all the little pieces here and there, testing ideas out, and trying to find a way to tie it all together into a better package, a package without so many holes and errors, that not only works, but all fits together without the contradictions. So, if you're satisfied that it's worthless, then walking away from it all is a very good idea. Find something interesting but more productive to put your time towards. You're right that there are many other theories, ones with far more backing and evidence that you can explore that may do a better job explaining things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Absurd View Post
    Actually, it is.
    Yes some of it is put into a concrete form but I ignore those parts in it. So yeah, I'm not a buddhist at all either.

    What do I like about socionics?
    -.- NO idea. You tell me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by squark View Post
    It is, and always has been a theory.
    Right, well, it is a theory. But people keep saying it works in practice so they use it. So? Is it a theory or to be taken for more than just theory?

    IMO, a theory, and you are right, my conclusion is exactly what you said at the end.

    Let me go into a few little details anyhow. I did the exact same you are doing with the theory, trying to better the theory in my mind, until at one point I realised it was useless.

    Note, one of my conclusions was/is that the dichotomies are all muddled. This is actually a nice short way to put what I was trying to explain in my first post.

    As for the IE's, these are abstract concepts that need to be anchored to reality and the problem is I do not see a proper connection between them and lower level cognitive workings of the brain. You could say there is a connection, but if so, it is one that does not explain anything NEW.

    Perhaps I see it this way only because I'm studying cogpsy at university. -.-

    You asked about how do our minds work, filter information, etc etc? There are a load of theories on that in cogpsy/cogsci.

    That's actually what I liked about the socionics theory, it seemed some stuff in it could tie in one way or the other, into other theories in cogpsy science. So I set out to explore it and see what it was about to decide what it actually was, heh.

    Suppose, this shows some more of my viewpoint.

    Btw, that experiment about gambling was pretty interesting. Good thing we are not rats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ambivalent existence View Post
    Yes some of it is put into a concrete form but I ignore those parts in it. So yeah, I'm not a buddhist at all either.
    It is a mix of two religions. The latter forced the former and out at the same time kept some of its practices and teachings.

    -.- NO idea. You tell me.
    Nothing.

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    Greatest non-socionics guru has spoken, all of yous subjective or something folk heed his warning.

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    You know there is theory explaining gravity but you don't fly around. Theories are explanations of empyrical data, that doesn't necessarily mean that theories are true or not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post

    Sure, I'm all for parsimony in assumptions. And FWIW, I think Socionics is largely hokum and a failure as a cogent personality theory. Though I suspect that the typological phenomena it refers to and attempts to describe, is probably real.
    No, nobody knows if the assumptions are true or false, but much more likely to be false than true.

    Sure, IE's can correspond to such emergent patterns. But what is new about that.

    Neuroscience is hesitant about it because it's not quite anywhere near being able to do that.

    I find it interesting you got more out of reading jung than socionics, even though jung only had the functions as some side thingie, and was never his main focus.

    Your last two lines, yeah, something like that. =P

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    You know there is theory explaining gravity but you don't fly around. Theories are explanations of empyrical data, that doesn't necessarily mean that theories are true or not.
    Some theories are considered to be better models than others.

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    Yes, but they are all just theories

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    Yes, but they are all just theories
    Alright, so don't use socionics theory either to fly around.

    Deal with people based on experience instead.

    A perfect example of that is the concept of duality. Nah...

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    I have no idea what you just wrote, ambi

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashton View Post
    Theory needn't be separate from experience; there's generally a reciprocal interrelationship of mutual influence between the two.

    Whether you like it or not, you're operating on theories about people all the time.
    Okay maybe... I'm pretty situational about reacting to people. If I have theories about them, it must be an unconscious something. -.-

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravolez View Post
    I have no idea what you just wrote, ambi
    I made an analogy between flying and duality.

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    If you are implying that duality and the other intertype relations don't exist I strongly disagree.It is true that there is more to interpersonal relations than what socionics describes but what socionics describes is there. The main issue with socionics as I see it is not whether the observed phenomenon exists or not but the underlying model, the predictions that it makes and their verifiability.

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