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Thread: Flaws in typing by reading descriptions

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    Default Flaws in typing by reading descriptions

    At one point, I was -- over-confident of the effectiveness of typing by description - especially Stratiyevskaya's.

    Yet, I soon realized that

    - her kind of description (raw Te data and no Ti) may not be easily appreciated by everyone
    - some people do not find them useful at all to differentiate between similar types (as between SLE and SEE)

    Which goes to the broader issue of type descriptions generally.

    In theory, descriptions should be a "pure" form of typing since they are the immediate data-collection, real people. Yet that's also wrong. The "pure" descriptions would be individual descriptions of individual persons. No matter how long and inclusive descriptions will be, they will always go for the "average" or "lower common denominator" of a bunch of people supposedly of the same type. Yes, that "average" should be a reflection of the functional preferences and that is the point, but this is imperfect since the same functional preferences will not be manifested in precisely the same way for everyone (even if they may do so for the majority).

    So even if you read all available descriptions, you will still "eliminate" some individuals who are different from the "average" of the types, which will lead such individuals not to recognize themselves as any type (they still would, of course, if they understood that makes the type be the type).

    Some examples are --

    - the "Fe-loaded" kind of LIIs (LIIs who are quite emotionally expressive on their own)
    - the same for LSIs, where I have seen more women like that
    - the "socially-awkward" kind of EIEs
    - the quieter SLEs and SEEs
    - the "organized" SEEs, which are often typed as ESEs by people with MBTI in mind
    - the "intellectual" SLEs
    - the solitary, silent, not-very Fe-active nor obviously social kind of SEIs and IEIs
    - the quieter LIEs
    - the "joker" SLIs (that's an interesting case, some SLIs are really into the "flickering" Fe in terms of cracking jokes of the Ne sort, but they usually don't realize when it's not called for)
    - the "apparent player" SLIs who date a lot

    Now how would I know that those individuals are of the types I have seen in them? You wouldn't if following descriptions. That's where a deeper understanding of what drives those individuals is important, which is obviously more difficult to spot. For those cases, you have to look beyond the usual image of the type, but with time, the true type becomes clearer.

    And that's the problem with typing by comparison -- you end up automatically screening out such cases.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    In theory, descriptions should be a "pure" form of typing since they are the immediate data-collection, real people. Yet that's also wrong. The "pure" descriptions would be individual descriptions of individual persons. No matter how long and inclusive descriptions will be, they will always go for the "average" or "lower common denominator" of a bunch of people supposedly of the same type. Yes, that "average" should be a reflection of the functional preferences and that is the point, but this is imperfect since the same functional preferences will not be manifested in precisely the same way for everyone (even if they may do so for the majority).

    That's why I think there are no sbubtypes. There are only individual preferences. Which you can easily see, when you will meet many people from the same type. Those people will be so different that you can't simply categorize them into accepting or producing subtypes. In fact that is why those subtypes don't exist. Because they don't describe the real people. In reality people can't be either accepting or producing type. They are far more complex. It is impossible to be either one. Because we use accepting and producing Ego functions all the time. So the idea of describing people by two subtypes oversimplifies how people are in real world.
    Semiotical process

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsb'07
    That's why I think there are no sbubtypes. There are only individual preferences. Which you can easily see, when you will meet many people from the same type. Those people will be so different that you can't simply categorize them into accepting or producing subtypes. In fact that is why those subtypes don't exist. Because they don't describe the real people. In reality people can't be either accepting or producing type. They are far more complex. It is impossible to be either one. Because we use accepting and producing Ego functions all the time. So the idea of describing people by two subtypes oversimplifies how people are in real world.
    The idea of describing people by 16 types is also an oversimplification, the same argument could be applied to say that we all use all our functions all the time so people can't be of one or the other type.

    Yet, if you know what to look for, you do see the types, and if you do know one type well you also see the subtypes, at least as two different ways of how a type usually appears. Whether that's really due to using the producing or accepting ego function, well, it's one explanation.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    It's the cycle of madness.

    Where does the actual knowledge of the type come from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe
    It's the cycle of madness.

    Where does the actual knowledge of the type come from?

    there is none; type merely exists to underline the most common characteristics of real people. the existence of types at all is a purely inductive theoretical standpoint, but that doesn't mean it's not highly accurate (consider evolution by comparison).

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17
    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe
    It's the cycle of madness.

    Where does the actual knowledge of the type come from?

    there is none; type merely exists to underline the most common characteristics of real people.

    I don't think that really addresses dj's question. The subjective understanding of the types is not quite the same as the theoretical set of people.

    the existence of types at all is a purely inductive theoretical standpoint, but that doesn't mean it's not highly accurate (consider evolution by comparison).
    It's funny you mention evolution, because that's largely how I would answer the question - knowledge of the type comes from iterative feedback according to an intuitive fitness metric. The process is such that you can tell when accuracy has been increased, but not how it will or can be in the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe
    It's the cycle of madness.

    Where does the actual knowledge of the type come from?
    For many descriptions, I get the feeling they're pulled from that ever popular source of knowledge: the ass.
    That faith makes blessed under certain circumstances, that blessedness does not make of a fixed idea a true idea, that faith moves no mountains but puts mountains where there are none: a quick walk through a madhouse enlightens one sufficiently about this. (A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.) - Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by thehotelambush


    I don't think that really addresses dj's question. The subjective understanding of the types is not quite the same as the theoretical set of people.
    yes; i gathered that. i don't think you understood where i was coming from.


    It's funny you mention evolution, because that's largely how I would answer the question - knowledge of the type comes from iterative feedback according to an intuitive fitness metric. The process is such that you can tell when accuracy has been increased, but not how it will or can be in the future.
    that was exactly my point.

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    ok

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17
    Quote Originally Posted by discojoe
    It's the cycle of madness.

    Where does the actual knowledge of the type come from?

    there is none; type merely exists to underline the most common characteristics of real people. the existence of types at all is a purely inductive theoretical standpoint, but that doesn't mean it's not highly accurate (consider evolution by comparison).
    The types stem from observations of real individuals, the descriptions are but "distillations" of lots of individual descriptions, either actually written down or "saved" in the memory of the author of the final description.

    To make an analogy with experimental physics (or chemistry, or engineering, or anything):

    - the individuals observed are the experimental points put into the graph
    - the type descriptions are -- manually drawn curves trying to summarize the experimental points as best as possible
    - Socionics concepts are an attempt to make all points fit into a model

    The problem with relying too much on type descriptions is that you look at the manually drawn curve and hence may hastily rule out some cases that might actually be very similar to the original experimental points.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    Default Re: Flaws in typing by reading descriptions

    Quote Originally Posted by Expat

    And that's the problem with typing by comparison -- you end up automatically screening out such cases.
    expat I see where your coming from but I also think that it's unwise to quickly dismiss typing by description. The main problem I see is that not many quality descriptions have been translated into English, thus we are left to depend on the little that we have.

    In my experience, and I've read a decent amount of different type descriptions, each individual socionics type description is inherently flawed when applied to an individual, there's simply too many variable which go unnoticed. Thus when I first got into socionics I suffered confusion over my type.
    However, the inherent problems of each individual type description can be countered by not looking at the description as a "whole story". What I mean is that a description is just one socionist's observations on a type. So for example, using only Gulenko's descriptions to type people is utterly irresponsible and will lead to difficulties.

    In order to compensate for the inherent flaws of each description I'd recommend that people view it as only "part" of a "whole". To do this we need to
    a) read through numerous different type descriptions of the same type (i.e. Gulenko's, Strat's, Filatova's, the male/female descriotions [i forget the author] etc.)
    b) recognize that each author is approaching "typing" from a different angle, that their own type also is biasing them in their descriptions
    c) then having accumulated all this information on each type, find the major characteristics that appear again and again in socionic type descriptions and use those as the base from which to mentally conceptualize a psycho-type. By this I mean focusing on the noticable behaviour patterns and characteristics that are being mentioned again and again in type descriptions. These behavioural patterns and characteristics are important because they are usually easily tied to a type's functional make-up.

    I agree that accepting that all ESTps and ESFps are very talkative is not very helpful. Such a generalization doesn't really have a functional basis. However, time and time again you'll read in ESTp descriptions that they're prone to not realize they've offended someone by speaking frankly on an issue (Fi PoLR). An ESTp's level of extroversion is not something that socionists seem to agree on, as in different ESTp descriptions there is varying views on the manner.

    What I'm getting at is that if you're using a description to type someone then it's important to combine the description with the functional basis. On this forum I've noticed there's people that prefer descriptions and those that prefer functions. Ironically both options promise little. It's in the combination of the two that the best accuracy is achieved.

    The descriptions help us apply functions into life. This is because functions never work alone, always together. Descriptions tend to give characteristics that one function alone isn't responsible for because one function alone is never the sole cause of a person's actions. People that rely too heavily on "functions as a mean of typing" will therefore confuse themselves as they'll justify a person's behaviour by citing the influence of one function i.e. "he refuses to recognize viewpoints other than his own so he must be a Ti type". such observations are useless and I see them all the time on these forums. We need to move towards recognizing that Ti does not stand alone. Ti is effected by the functions around it. Furthermore the combination of different functions working together may give the false impression that Ti is dominant when in reality that's merely an illusion.

    Anyways I hope my view came across as I intended it, I'm going to stop here as I'd like to know what you think? My main point is that the ideal type description would be one that took the common elements found in many type descriptions and constructed them into one ultimate description and then attempted to show the functional basis for each commonality... that type descriptions alone are not very useful but that functional descriptions alone are also not useful. They must be selectively integrated, not separated.
    INFp-Ni

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    misutii: yes that's very close to what I think, too

    I don't dismiss typing by description, and I think it's impossible to learn Socionics (on your own) if you don't read them, and read them a lot. But you have to understand what they are actually describing.

    So, in the case of ESTp and ESFps, probably most of them are indeed more talkative than most other people of other types. But there isn't anything intrinsic to them to make them necessarily talkative, their irrational-extroversion may be manifested in other ways. So what I'm just saying is that it's a mistake to say, "all the ESTps I know are talkative, and the descriptions say that too, so he's not an ESTp". Perhaps, but not necessarily.

    I think we are on the same wavelength.
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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    At bottom socionics is a work of ontology, not psychology. The claims about human behavior made on it's behalf are of dubitable depedability. The terms in which said claims are expressed, however, are not.

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    A few very, very important things to keep in mind when reading type descriptions:

    1.) You're reading the author's understanding of their own perceptions of people they've typed... people they may simply just not understand. (Read a type description written by a member of that type's opposing quadra and you may understand. For example, some of the ISFj descriptions are particularly bad, focusing too much on Fe and Si and making the ISFj sound like a mean, cranky Alpha SF.)
    2.) Many of them were not originally written in English.
    3.) Some of them weren't even translated by someone who actually knows both languages. They were machine translated and then maybe translated further by someone based on a very poor quality machine translation and their understanding of their own perceptions of people they've typed.
    4.) Most of them were written based on a type's behavior in another era in a totally different culture. And don't even get me started on gender roles.
    5.) Everyone is going to read them differently.
    6.) It's difficult for most people to understand that types aren't about what a person does, it's about why they do it, and descriptions are just an attempt to describe observed traits that the author has attributed to type. And it's even more difficult in a lot of cases for most people to separate what they intrinsically are from what environmental expectations have caused their behavior to become.

    I know someone who I think is ESFp who does not sound much like the ESFp type descriptions and relates more to the ENFp type descriptions. Why? The ENFp descriptions sound more mature, and the ESFp descriptions often portray a Ti PoLR in an exaggerated way.

    There are a lot of people who find that they relate to most of the type descriptions they read. At one point in time I thought that type descriptions should only be written by an author of the same quadra.... but I'm started to think that it would be better if type descriptions were instead read by people of the same quadra as the author, if trying to learn their own type. If they want to understand another type, reading descriptions by an author in the same quadra as the subject of the type description would be a better idea.

    The bottom line is that descriptions aren't a whole lot more useful for determining one's type than tests are (and tests are practically useless). The only way to understand a socionic's type it is to understand functions (information elements) and model A. "Type traits" will be different in different environments. And even if two people of the same type are in the same environment... right down to gender and the intertype relations within their partner, family, friends, and at their workplace... they may still act differently because one may be depressed, or borderline, or hyperactive, etc. You get my point.

    That said, I personally have found the duality descriptions useful. This would probably only work for people who have been in a number of relationships, some that have failed and some that have been successful. Someone who's never been in a long term relationship may think they know what they want, but a lot of people in that position get what they think they want and then later discover that they actually want something else. Also, I don't think that people need to be with their dual in order to have a great relationship because their are so many other ways that people can be (or not be) compatible. Someone who's in a happy and healthy relationship with someone other than their dual (or someone who's been in an unhappy and unhealthy relationship with their dual) wouldn't relate to the duality descriptions as much as someone who's been in a happy and healthy relationship with their dual, such as Slacker Mom or Maze or crazymaisy (and I say this without asking them if they relate to their duality descriptions ). Anyways, while duality descriptions may not be the best for a lot of people to find their types, I found them very useful, and I think they are more "accurate" most of the time than individual type descriptions because they describe how the duals interact and what they need from each other (as opposed to how the author attributes specific behaviors to types), something that's more culturally universal because it's based directly on functions and the way the functions interact.

    For all the above reasons, it is difficult for novices to type themselves and other people. Especially online or when their understanding of types come from comparison's of type descriptions, people online, celebrities, or anyone else that we don't know all that well. And there are only a couple people here who would qualify as professionals (as opposed to novices). There are a handful of novices who, after a couple of years and a lot of life experience (AND typing themselves correctly) most likely have an accurate understanding of functions and at least most of the types. However, even they cannot type people that they don't know very well with certainty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diana
    Quote Originally Posted by Joy
    The bottom line is that descriptions aren't a whole lot more useful for determining one's type than tests are (and tests are practically useless). The only way to understand a socionic's type it is to understand functions (information elements) and model A. "Type traits" will be different in different environments.
    I disagree with the bolded. Part of the reason that I disagree is that based on where a function is and how it relates to the other functions in that person's psyche influences how it's expressed (which I realize you're saying to a degree by mentioning model A). A function does not look quite the same in two different types. Compare an ESFp to an INFj-- they both have Fi, but the understanding of what Fi is has to be looked at as how it is used by a real person.

    I tried looking at functions in their dissected form. I looked at the information elements that anndelise was working on. They don't make a lot of sense that way, because it's hard to separate them out from everything else.

    I agree that "type traits" might look different in different environments, to a point, but functions also behave differently in different types. And breaking everything down to its elements doesn't always allow you to understand the whole compound. CO2 is a lot different than H2O.

    I was trying to figure out how Se was my polr, and so started trying to figure out just what Se was. I just got more and more confused. Then I read the Strat. descriptions for INFj and ISFj, and tried to get people to explain to me why I identified with the ISFj Se section and not the INFj. People answered that she didn't have the functions labeled quite right, which really did not answer my question at all. Fine, I let it go, and kept trying to figure out what Ne was, what Fi was and what Se were on their own. Not very possible.

    Then I went through her descriptions as a whole and put my comments. I asked for feedback from other INFjs to find out if she was just mistaken in how she was describing INFjs, and if they identified with my comments more, or with her description more. That fell flat.

    I then went through and did the same for the ISFj description. It fit better. There were sections of them both that were similar, which makes sense considering they share in the same functional order Fi, Ti, Te and Fe.

    Then, when the Filatova descriptions came out, I again read both. It became clear that I fit her ISFj description better than her INFj description. But there's some pretty common ideas about what functions are that if I went by those, there's no way I'd be an ISFj.

    For example: Se is obnoxious, pushy and inconsiderate as seen in some ESTps. If you're not that way, you don't have it.
    Ne is the function of creativity and imagination. If you ever daydream or make up scenarios in your head, you're Ne.
    If you ever appreciate someone doing something for you, even when you're sick, you have Si HA.

    and so on.

    Far more useful to look at a number of descriptions and compare them, than to take a test. However, sometimes descriptions are misleading, and not useful. The way people read things into descriptions can also be a problem. If someone wants to say they're a certain type all they have to do is say, "I'm just exactly like this description." Well that's ridiculous. Unless you were the actual person the describer was describing then there's no way you could be EXACTLY like the description.
    I can see your point... that descriptions can be good in that they provide examples of how each function works differently for each type, but they're still just that... examples. It's still important to understand types according to model A because our socionics type is simply about how we metabolize information. Two people of the same type can be very different, and it's possible for someone to not relate to their type description very much, or to relate to another better than they're own.

    In your situation, each set of descriptions was written by one of the types you were considering (that is, if the person who told me that Filatova is INFj is correct), so it makes sense that the descriptions would be more useful to you than descriptions generally are for most people, imo.
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    Oh yeah, and it helps that the descriptions you read were broken down by function. Not all of them are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by labcoat
    At bottom socionics is a work of ontology, not psychology. The claims about human behavior made on it's behalf are of dubitable depedability. The terms in which said claims are expressed, however, are not.
    Can you elaborate on this? If socionics is just philosophy, it's not a very good one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joy
    Oh yeah, and it helps that the descriptions you read were broken down by function. Not all of them are.
    True, but of course not all of them get all the breaking-down correctly --
    , LIE, ENTj logical subtype, 8w9 sx/sp
    Quote Originally Posted by implied
    gah you're like the shittiest ENTj ever!

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