• Speaking Different Languages, Striving for the Same (Socionics vs American typology)

    Speaking Different Languages, Striving for the Same

    © Victor Gulenko, 1996
    From V. Gulenko, V. Tyshchenko, Jung At School.
    Translated by Dmitri Lytov
    Edited by Jeffrey Bolden

    For a long time development of socionics was limited by a single country's borders, but in 1984 its founder, Ausra Augustinaviciute, learned about the MBTI test (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)19, and this was the beginning of communication between socionics and its “transatlantic cousin”.

    Comparison between the American type theory and socionics became possible due to the publication in 1995-1996 of several books by American authors: D. Keirsey, M. Bates, O. Kroeger, J. Thuesen, P. Tieger, and B. Barron-Tieger11-13,16. Although the primary source, the theory of personality types developed by C.G. Jung20, is the same for the both typologies, there is a serious difference between them in contents and language.
    Moreover, whereas we, the socionists of the former USSR pretended that socionics can be considered as an independent science and are even sure we have created a new scientific paradigm, the American adherents of the named typology limited application of their typology to just people and their groups and, in my opinion, for this reason are satisfied with a very modest term type watching.

    I will hereinafter refer to the American theory and practice of studying human types as type theory, or type watching. The trilogy published in Russia11-13 gave a general overview of human types, their characteristics in the business sphere and relations between men and women.

    1. Personality Dimensions (Dichotomies)

    There are only 4 pairs of Jungian dichotomies splitting mankind into 16 types. All socionic schools apply them both in theoretical works and in practice, e.g. type diagnostics. However, Gregory Reinin (St. Petersburg) proved the mathematical existence of 11 derivative dichotomies describing the same 16 types in addition to the 4 basic ones5.

    In addition to Jungian dimensions I often use several Reinin dimensions that have been already tested in practice: Static-dynamic, leftists-rightists, central-peripheral, aristocrats-democrats.These dimensions are not known to American researchers7,9.

    The situation with type names becomes more and more sophisticated. The Americans refused to use Jung's rationality-irrationality term in favor of a different one called judging-perceiving. On the other hand, in order to avoid misunderstanding in Russian word usage, A. Augustinaviciute renamed the thinking-feeling dimension into logical-ethical3.

    The next problem encountered in attempts to study socionics goes back to the conventional symbols for dimension. In the US psychologists refer to Jungian dimensions by letters: E vs. I (Extroversion vs. Introvers ion), S vs. N (Sensing vs. iNtuitive), T vs. F (Thinking vs. Feeling), and J vs. P (Judging vs. Pe rceiving). In socionics this system is known but rarely used. Hereinafter I will refer to socionic types by names used in MBTI, according to the comparison table made by Russian MBTI adherents15 (TABLE 1).

    On the other hand, socionics pays more attention to the so-called communicative aspects absent in the American type theory but strictly corresponding to the 8 basic Jungian types3:

    a) structural and practical logic
    b) ethics of relations and emotions
    c) force and perception sensing
    d) time and potential intuition.

    Aspects are created by splitting each of 4 Jungian functions (intuition, sensing, ethic, logic) into 2 components: static and dynamic (TABLE 1).

    Two different systems of signs [or “symbols”] are used. The first comes from A. Augustinaviciute's colleagues who have proposed geometric conventional signs: triangle, square, circle, and corner, either black or white. Later, I had proposed to refer to the aspects by letters, as more convenient as well as conforming to scientific tradition. The American system of signs [symbols] had not been known to me at that time.

    Alas, for this reason several letters have quite different meaning: compare F as force sensing (in my system of socionic signs) and Feeling in MBTI; I as potential intuition (socionics) and Introversion (MBTI); T as time intuition (socionics) and Thinking (MBTI).

    My choice of letters was not voluntary: each letter corresponding to a communication aspect has its meaning. In the meantime, I tried to observe conformity of my symbols with the semantics of general scientific system of symbols: 6 information, 3 time, 5 energy, 4 force, etc. Here are these 8 universalia – the communication aspects:

    TABLE 1.
    Correspondence between Jungian function, socionic function and Jungian personality typology.

    C.G. Jung's
    Description in socionics*
    Hypothetic correlation
    to MBTI ® types
    (pseudonyms according
    to D. Keirsey
    or E Extraverted
    Dynamic extraverted ethic, or ethic of emotions

    Latin emoveo ("I move") (smb.)
    ENFJ (Pedagogue)
    ESFJ (Seller)
    or R Introverted
    Static introverted ethic, or ethic of relations

    Latin relatio ("relation")
    INFJ (Author)
    ISFJ (Conservator)
    or P Extraverted
    Dynamic extraverted logic, or practical logic

    Latin profiteor ("I make useful actions")
    ENTJ (Field Marshall)
    ESTJ (Administrator)
    or L Introverted
    Static introverted logic, or structural logic

    Latin lex ("law, rule")
    INTJ (Scientist)
    ISTJ (Trustee)
    or S Introverted
    Dynamic introverted sensing, or perception sensing

    Latin sensus ("sensation")
    ISTP (Artisan)
    ISFP (Artist)
    or F Extraverted
    Static extraverted sensing, or force sensing

    Latin factor ("I influence")
    ESTP (Promoter)
    ESFP (Entertainer)
    or T Introverted
    Dynamic introverted intuition, or time intuition

    Latin tempus ("time")
    INTP (Architect)
    INFP (Questor)
    or I Extraverted
    Static extraverted intuition, or potential intuition

    Latin intueor ("I look through")
    ENTP (Inventor)
    ENFP (Journalist)

    Translator's remark: in MBTI correspondence of functions to types, their essence and order in type models is different: compare e.g. [I]www.typelogic.com[/I]. The letters come from Latin, however, it is easy to find in the same way explications of the letters in English: Emotions, Relations, Practice, Logic, Sense, Force, Time, and Intuition.

    One more remark: not all socionists support the idea of "static" and "dynamic" functions.

    2. Type Names

    Each type may be described in two different ways: by combining either Jungian dimensions or communication aspects, and the last is used exclusively in socionics. Difference of approaches leads to differences in type descriptions, and chaos emerges.

    American symbols consist of 4 letters, while ours of either 3 (type as a combination of Jungian dimensions), or 2 (as a combination of communication aspects).

    For example, the same type is named: ESTJ in the type theory, and in socionics: LSE, logical-sensory extravert = = PS in socioanalysis (a school in socionics founded by the author, Gulenko). The 4 letters system used in the US competes with the more compact socionic systems.

    The problem of type names is more complex. As a rule, human types do not have their particular names in the US and are indicated by 4 letters; exception is made only by Keirsey who refers to types according to occupation-related pseudonyms1.

    Unfortunately in the former USSR a misleading system of pseudonyms is still in use of naming types by celebrities (e.g. Writers: Dumas stands for ISFP, Gorky for ISTJ. Book heroes: Holmes stands for ESTJ, Don Quixote for ENTP. There are even persons unknown outside Russia). Several socionists17,18 still use such pseudonyms, ignoring the trend of transition to functional names.

    In 1989 (published in 1995) I made the first attempt among socionists to introduce a functionally motivated system of names to be convenient for management consulting practice and professional orientation8 based on Keirsey system but slightly different (see TABLES below). It still helps me in reading lectures and performing seminars and trainings, and is described in details in sourced literature10.

    My repeated appeals to stop using ridiculous terminology have been ignored for a long time; finally, the situation changed, but instead of attempts to a dialog with me, the socionists in Kiev offered their own alternative system of names. Seeds of controversies and hostilities have been sown.

    Since socionic circles are not integral, and some of socionists are hostile to other schools, the diversity of name systems seems to grow up in the future. I see 2 ways out of this problem: either socionists will be able to come to an agreement like chemists did in a similar situation at Karlsruhe International Congress 1860, or one or two systems will win as a result of natural selection. The first way is preferable for our science, but in this case somebody will have to tame his ambitions.

    3. Type Models

    Type components (differentiation dimensions or communication aspects) are usually positioned in a certain order which allows building schemes. Such schemes are usually called models, and these are used both in socionics and in the type theory.

    The difference is that socionic models (e.g. the Model A — see TABLE 2) consist of communication aspects, whereas the American model consists of Jungian dimensions. As a result, these two models are not easy to combine. Our models consist usually of 8 positions, and American only of 4.

    Another essential difference: order of numbering functions in the model is also different. Let us consider for example two types: ILE, intuitive-logical extravert (ENTP) and LII, logical-intuitive introvert (INTJ). What are their main functions (TABLE 3)? A socionist would answer: for the first it is intuition, and for the second it is logic (i.e. thinking). By contrast, a type scientist says that intuition is the main function for the both, but it is extraverted (Ne) for ENTP and introverted (Ni) for INTJ.

    In other words, hierarchy of functions must be the same for the both types: main—intuition, auxiliary—logic, third—feeling, fourth—sensing. The difference is, that the ENTP's first function is extraverted, and the INTJ's is introverted. According to socionics, however, intuition is extraverted for the both (), but has different positions in their models.

    TABLE 2.
    The Model A4: the socionic basis of building up personality type descriptions.

    Blocks Model A positions
    ENTP, intuitive
    logical extravert

    ISFJ, ethical
    sensory introvert

    EGO 1. Leading (personality program)
    2. Auxiliary (creative)
    SUPER-EGO 3. Role, mask, emergency reaction
    4. Most vulnerable
    SUPER-ID 5. Suggestion
    6. Activation
    ID 7. Ignoring
    8. Standard

    Type scientists are discrepant in their treatment of type models. I found no information concerning extroversion or introversion of the 3rd and 4th functions in MBTI literature.

    The same problem arises with defining the weakest function. It must stand at the 4th position. Therefore, it is sensing for both INTJ and ENTP. According to socionics, it is only half true: ENTP's weakest function is feeling.

    The models applied in the type theory and socionics are strongly different by configuration. The American model is linear, it is just a sequence of 4 functions positioned in descendent order by their "strength". The socionic model is a combination of 2 functional circles positioned one above another (TABLES 2 and 4).

    In addition, Model A consists of blocks—pairs of functions. There are 4 such blocks: Ego (1+2), Super-Ego (3+4), Super-Id (5+6), Id (7+8)20. Due to this, socionics can model 4 functional modes for each type. For example, socioanalysis operates with 2 different temperament conditions of a type, as well as type attitudes to kinds of activities which compensate each other when a type changes communication distance.

    The type theory appeals to the type dynamic, which is based on gradual development of functions along 4 stages of human life. But this macrodynamics hardly reflects changes of human behavior under different circumstances. Socioanalysis is more interested in macrodynamics, i.e. transition of a type from one functional mode into another due to internal rhythm as well as under external influence6.

    Therefore socionics and the type theory went different ways in studying dynamic processes.

    4. Small Groups

    In studying small groups, or quaternions (TABLE 5), the situation is in favor of socionics. In MBTI only one class of such groups is recognized by all authors: D. Keirsey's temperaments. These are sensing-perceiving (Dionysus), sensing-judging (Epimetheus), intuitive-feeling (Apollo) and intuitive-thinking (Prometheus)15.

    Socionists discovered a great number of small groups (also called Reinin groups). Theoretically there are more than 200 different types of such groups, but only a small part of them are more or less studied. Most applicable in socionics are 6 groups based on Jungian dimensions (temperaments, attitudes towards certain activities, perception, communicability, stimuli, argumentation), as well as progress groups (project implementation, stress resistance, expansion), and quadras (see also TABLE 5).

    Let me draw your attention to D. Keirsey's very specific understanding of temperaments. Types within the same Keirsey temperament differ greatly in their emotional and dynamic characteristics. It is hard to accept that the restrained Author (INFJ), importunate Pedagogue (ENFJ), melancholic Questor (INFP) and sanguine Journalist (ENFP) belong to the same temperament type.

    As we learned from studying opinions of specialists, small groups are convenient to use in socioanalysis. We discovered laws regulating subsequent succession of one group by another. Based on this I perform training where I demonstrate different communication technologies. We also perform systematical studies of small groups of different kinds. What about Americans?

    As I can imagine, according to the American literature available, type scientists at their seminars split the auditory into 2 parts and order them to do the same task, e.g. to make a list of their expenses. According to differences in their answers, they make conclusions about typological differences between thinking and feeling, sensing and intuitive types etc. These obvious differences, in their opinion, a large psycho-therapeutic effect.

    I cannot ignore the fact that the distribution of Myers Briggs types by career interests and reaction towards changes has a direct analog in socionic quaternions (TABLE 3)4,9,19:

    TABLE 3.
    Temperaments, attitudes and Jungian personality types (comparison between socionics and MBTI).
    Type pseudonyms according to V.Gulenko (different from Keirsey's).

    Occupational mindsets (socionics) / Career interests (MBTI)
    Temperaments (socionics) /
    Reaction on changes (MBTI)
    Stable-balanced: IJ
    ISTJ, Inspector ISFJ, Guardian INFJ, Humanist INTJ, Analyst
    Perceptive-adaptive: IP
    ISTP, Craftsman ISFP, Mediator INFP, Lyricist INTP, Critic
    Flexible-mobile: EP
    ESTP, Commander ESFP, Politician ENFP, Psychologist ENTP, Seeker
    Linear-promotive: EJ
    ESTJ, Administrator ESFJ, Bonvivant ENFJ, Mentor ENTJ, Enterpriser

    The distribution is the same as in the socionic table of temperaments and attitudes, but the difference in principle and subsequently, practical application of the difference was not understood.

    5. Intertype Relationships

    More or less systematical studies of intertype relationships were obviously not undertaken by type analysts until now. Nothing even vaguely similar to the socionic table of intertype relationships (TABLE 4) appears in the books of American authors. This is why we do not have any idea how Americans treat groups of relations, build up agreeability scales etc. based on their works.

    It seems that type analysts believe that relationships are independent on the partners' psychological types. In their books I find appeals to have consideration of the differences between partners and to build on this basis conflict and favorable relations, whatever type a partner may belong to.

    The only dimension they use is total similarity or total difference of the partners' psychological structures. However, there is no unity in opinion which of two is favorable for communication at close distances, e.g. for marriage.

    Isabel B. Myers in her basic work2 demonstrates on statistic examples better co-existence of similar types. On the other hand, O. Kroeger and J. Thuesen report they watched better harmony in contrast pairs11-13.

    Due to A. Augustinaviciute, socionics offers the concept of duality as the most comfortable relationship (TABLE 4). Therefore, this provides evidence in favor of adherents of better agreeability of contrast pairs. However, pairs of identical types cannot be considered as non-comfortable and "bad".

    We really disagree with D. Keirsey who believes that the relationships 0000 and 0100 (where 0 stands for difference, 1 for coincidence of the corresponding binary criterion) are the best possible. For example, according to him, INFJ and ISFJ are the best possible partners for ENTP15. In socionics these relationships are described as conflict or supervision, i.e. not the best but the worst
    (TABLE 4). Real examples of such conflicts are easy to find even in MBTI-related literature11-13.

    The socionic school of socioanalysis has not yet created a unified scale of intertype relationship agreeability. In more precise terms, it proposes at least 8 such different scales to use for different communication objectives and distances. A socioanalyst would answer that any relationships may be stable if rules of integration are observed. However, stability of conflict relationships costs much more than stability of dual partners.

    TABLE 4.
    Intertype relationships as correspondence of a partner's two leading functions to positions of the Model A.
    Example: ENTP's relations.

    ENTP's Model A
    1 2
    4 3
    6 5
    7 8

    Interaction between occupational mindsets

    56: Duality

    58: Semi-duality

    78: Contrast

    76: Illusionary

    65: Activation

    85: Transmitter

    87: Quasi-identity

    67: Receiver

    34: Super-ego

    32: Cooperation

    12: Identity

    14: Congenerity

    43: Conflict

    23: Supervisee

    21: Mirror

    41: Supervisor


    In addition, about two years ago I developed a concept of relative socionics. It is based on presumption of psychotype as a relative idea. At close communication distances, as a result of long-term communication, personality types of communicants "get shadowed", but the relationship between them becomes better structured7.

    At far psychological distances individuals "within their types" and relationships with other people may be of any kind. At close distances group communication stereotypes become a valid force which make people change in favor of the group integrating relationship. As a result, people of different personality types behave in the same way, and it becomes difficult to define their born psychological structures.

    In real life middle communication distances are the most common, and therefore it seems that a type time after time "gets smoother", and as soon as the surrounding pressure softens, gets "embossed" again. In other words, it behaves like a spring – shrinks and then straightens again. In fact, distorted and contaminated types are much easier to meet everywhere than immutable and sterile ones.

    TABLE 5.
    One more example of quaternions (splitting 16 types into 4 groups).

    Methods of argumentation
    Status, prestige:
    Constructors: TJ
    ESTJ, Administrator
    ENTJ, Enterpriser
    ISTJ, Inspector
    INTJ, Analyst
    Restructurers: TP
    ESTP, Commander
    ENTP, Seeker
    ISTP, Craftsman
    INTP, Critic
    Diplomats: FP
    ESFP, Politician
    ENFP, Psychologist
    ISFP, Mediator
    INFP, Lyricist
    Guardians: FJ
    ESFJ, Bonvivant
    ENFJ, Mentor
    ISFJ, Guardian
    INFJ, Humanist

    Therefore we can admit that socionics is more advanced than the type theory in the field of intertype communication. But it also cannot give an absolute type compatibility forecast because it is not easy to calculate in advance the relative effects caused by a type's adaptation to surrounding.

    6. Local and American Authors

    Having compared theoretical fundamentals of type theory and socionics, one can come to the conclusion that these typological trends reflect in many details the psychological types of their creators and main authors.

    Books on type theory are written in figurative and emotional language, are impressing and are easy to understand. One can find little complicated logic and “dry” scientific speculations in there. At the same time, books in socionics are full of schemes, complicated tables and theoretical constructions in a logic manner. The contrast between these two approaches is obvious.

    Speaking the language of socioanalysis, the type theory has been developed by Humanitarians (NF types – see TABLE 3), including the founders, Isabel Briggs Myers and Catherine Briggs (INFP and INFJ), and many of their adherents. By contrast, founders of socionic schools and most active socionists belong, like A. Augustinaviciute herself, to the group of Scientists (NT types – see TABLE 3).

    The contradiction between type theory, on the one hand, and socionics, on the other, is therefore implied by objective circumstances and in many details is similar to the classical dispute between the humanities and the sciences. The dispute between “physicists” and “poets” goes back into the deep past, and nobody has won in this dispute. And who still has doubts that the victory will profit no-one? The debate can only harm our common child, the scientific typology of personality and intertype relations.

    I want to finish this survey article with a suggestion to unite the forces of specialists both in the US and here in order to eliminate the discrepancy of concepts and conventional signs as soon as possible, to develop a mutually acceptable language of communication between different schools and to profit from difference of opinions in favor of the future information civilization. Let us avoid competition and strive for cooperation!

    7. Literature

    1. Keirsey D., Bates M. Please Understand Me. Character & Temperament Types. Gnosology Books Ltd., 1984.
    2. Myers I.. Myers P. Gifts Differing. Palo Alto. Calif.: Consulting Psychologist Press, 1980.
    3. Аугустинавичюте А. О дуальной природе человека//Соционика, ментология и психология личности, 1996, №№ 1—3. (A.Augustinaviciute. On the Dual Nature of a Human).
    4. Аугустинавичюте А. Социон (основы соционики) //Соционика, ментология и психология личности, 1996, №№ 4, 5. ( A . Augustinaviciute . Socion or Fundamentals of Socionics ).
    5. Аугустинавичюте А. Теория признаков Рейнина//Соционика, ментология и психология личности, 1998, №№ 1—6. (A.Augustinaviciute. Reinin's Theory of Binary Dimensions).
    6. Гуленко В.В. Выразительные возможности психических состояний. Человек и мир языком универсалий//Соционика, ментология и психология личности, 2001, № 3. ( V . V . Gulenko . Expressive Possibilities of Psychical Conditions ).
    7. Гуленко В.В. Интровертная соционика//Соционика, ментология и психология личности, 1996, № 4. ( V . V . Gulenko . Introverted Socionics ).
    8. Гуленко В.В. Как называть социотип? //Соционика, ментология и психология личности. 1995, №3, с.74-80. ( V . V . Gulenko . On Giving Sociotype a Name ).
    9. Гуленко В.В. Менеджмент слаженной команды. Новосибирск, Рипэл, 1995. ( V . V . Gulenko . Harmonious Team Management ).
    10. Гуленко В.В. Отчёт о соционической работе в 6-г классе средней школы #16 Октябрьского района г.Новосибирска. Новосибирск, 21.04.1996. (V.V.Gulenko. Report of Socionic Practice in the 6-G Class of the Secondary School #16, Oktyabrsky District, Novosibirsk City).
    11. Крёгер О., Тьюсон Дж. Типы людей. М., Персей-Вече-АСТ, 1995. (O.Kroeger, J.Thuesen, Type Talk).
    12. Крёгер О., Тьюсон Дж. Типы людей и бизнес. М., Персей-Вече-АСТ, 1995. (O.Kroeger, J.Thuesen, Type Talk at Work).
    13. Крёгер О., Тьюсон Дж. 16 дорог любви. М., Персей-Вече-АСТ, 1995. (O.Kroeger, J.Thuesen, 16 Ways to Love Your Lover).
    14. Ливер Бетти Лу. Обучение всего класса. М.: Новая школа, 1995. (Leaver, Betty Lou. Teaching the Whole Class).
    15. Овчинников Б.В., Павлов К.В., Владимирова И.М. Ваш психологический тип. СПб ., «Андреев и сыновья», 1994. (B.V.Ovchinnikov, K.V.Pavlov, I.M.Vladimirova. Your Psychological Type).
    16. Тигер П., Бэррон-Тигер Б . Делай то. для чего ты рождён . М ., Армада. 1996. (P.Tieger, B.Barron-Tieger. Discover the Perfect Career for You through the Secrets of Personality Type).
    17. Филатова Е.С. Соционика для Вас. Новосибирск, 1994. (Ye.Filatova. Socionics for You).
    18. Филатова Е.С. Соционика в портретах. Новосибирск, 1996. (Ye. Filatova. Socionics in Portraits ).
    19. Шнейдерман Б. Психология программирования. М. 1984. (B.Shneiderman. Software Psychology. Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems).
    20. Юнг К.Г. Психологические типы. СПБ., Ювента, М., Прогресс-Универс, 1995. (C. G. Jung. Psychological Types).
    21. Якушина Н.Р., Синицын Е.С. Соционика в сократовских диалогах. Новосибирск, 1995. (N. R. Yakushina, Ye. S. Sinitsyn. Socionics in Socratic Dialogs).
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. redbaron's Avatar
      redbaron -
      this is a very clear description of the differences. thank you for posting!
    1. Jaredvaughan's Avatar
      Jaredvaughan -
      Youtuber CS Joseph combines the best of mbti and Socionics. Check him out. He's the best!!
    1. World Socionics's Avatar
      World Socionics -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jaredvaughan View Post
      Youtuber CS Joseph combines the best of mbti and Socionics. Check him out. He's the best!!
      No one who understands Socionics would think that CS Joseph's typological system is an improvement.
    1. Metamorph's Avatar
      Metamorph -
      Honestly people need to leave behind Jung I think. Jung thought Impressionism was good art because it didn't have black and according to him you can't see black therefore it transcends rationality into pure perception, and he thought only Germans had souls because of Wotan and the Ergriffenheit in their racial collective unconsciousness until he had British ladies and lords paying him lots of money then magically they could have souls and ESP too. Poor Jung (except for when the British ladies and lords paid him lots of money, but still too poor to buy awful Manet paintings.)