So I've been thinking lately about science and socionics. It's extremely obvious that socionics is not at all scientific as it is right now. And that's fine; this is a psychological theory, and like all theories it may prove useful for some practicioners of the theory. I see it as more akin to a critical theorist's critique of a society than to a scientist's theory of the functions of a given set of organic molecules, for instance.
Still, I think in many ways crude theoretical inquiries can often be very very early forerunners of what eventually becomes useful science. For instance, we were all taught in school that Lamarck was wildly off-base with his silly speculations about how giraffes who stretch their necks out pass on their longer-necks to their offspring, and through many successive generations of neck-stretching giraffes end up with super long necks. Instead we know this came about through a very gradual process of Darwinian, rather than Lamarckian, evolution. However, recent research on epigenetics shows that some traits are, to some extent, inherited in a way similar to what Lamarck described (for relevant info check out studies on the Dutch Hunger Winter). Similarly Paracelsus was some sort of an alchemist-scientist hybrid; in any case he drew heavily on alchemical theories, which are obviously false. And yet he opened up many important doors for modern medical science.
So, I wonder if socionics could productively lay some sort of groundwork for future studies that would actually be scientific in nature. For instance, I decided to write this post because I am reading a book called Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts. In it, the author describes an experiment in which the manipulated variable is the length for which a given picture is shown, while sandwiched between two other pictures. If the picture is shown for a short enough time, it is never made conscious; that is, we never "see" it. However, individuals vary as to the minimum threshold of how long the picture has to be up for the subject to see it. If the picture is shown for 60 milliseconds, just about everybody with normal vision can see it. If the picture is shown for 30 miliseconds, just about nobody can see it. But that led me to think: would there be any correlation between socionics type and how long the picture needs to be up for it to be seen? The hypothesis from a socionics perspective is that individuals with strong Se have a lower threshold; LIIs might see the picture when it is shown for 55ms, on average, while SEEs might see the picture when it is shown for 48ms, on average. Something like that. You might further hypothesize that SEEs would have a lower threshold when the picture involves a human face, whereas SLEs would have a lower threshold when the picture involves a geometric shape (or something like that).
Now, this still wouldn't be scientific in nature, because you still have no real basis for judging some people to "be" a certain "type." That is, you couldn't say the experimental results correlate to "levels of Se"; you could only say at best that "judgments made by a certain group of experts or by a certain personality test correlated to differential performance on this experiment." That would be nice validation for the Super Awesome Institute of Smart Socionics People or whatever, but not really interesting science. But the intuition leads to something potentially scientific; that is, it could lead to an indication that one feature of a given brain (what duration a given image needs to be played for in order for the brain to see it) could have predictive power for another feature of that brain (something broadly behavioral, like aggression, which I think is unlikely; or something narrowly neurological, like the density of connections between certain brain regions or something).
This is way down the road, but I wonder if the intuitions of socionics could, if nothing else, serve as useful hypotheses for learning more about the peculiarities and specificities of individual brains, which could then have a broad range of applications. The most obvious would be in education; certain neurological/psychological data could be another weapon in a teacher's arsenal for determining the best way to educate a given student.
Anyway, I'd love to hear people's thoughts on this, and thoughts on other ways in which socionics could, potentially, impact a more scientifically-informed study of the relationship between the architecture of an individual's brain and the personality/behavior of that individual. Thanks!