Socionics is a personality theory that identifies 16 types of people through four elements, ultimately describing how we process information and make decisions. Developed by Russian psychologist Aushra Augustinavichiute in the 1970s, Socionics is sometimes compared to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). While both use Carl Jung’s work to categorize personality types, they were developed at different times and in different countries.
Read on to find out what Socionics is, how it was developed, and how you can use Socionics in a variety of settings.
According to Socionics, there are eight cognitive functions that affect our decision-making and other mental processes:
These functions indicate how people experience things and connect with others. By determining how people perceive the world, we can improve our ability to communicate more effectively.
Socionics and MBTI are both personality typing systems. They each categorize people into 16 types based on cognitive functions.
MBTI types are named with a simple letter pattern to describe each type’s characteristics.
Socionic types not only have acronyms and formal names, but they are also sometimes referred to by the names of famous people or fictional characters from novels or films whose personalities resemble the characteristics of a particular type.
Socionics identifies 16 types of people through four pairs of “information elements.” MBTI uses only four of the eight elements plus two of its own.
The main differences between Socionics and MBTI are that Socionics was developed in Russia by Aushra Augustinavichiute and is largely based on the work of Carl Jung in the 1970s-1980s, while MBTI is a proprietary system created by Katherine Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Myers, in 1943 and has been updated twice since it was developed.
Socionic personality types categorize people according to psychological preferences in how they interact with the world. There are 16 types, according to the Socionics system, which describe an individual’s cognitive processes and psychological functions.
Each type is comprised of a combination of information elements.
The 16 most common Socionic personality types are based on combinations of information elements, or IEs. Each IE has a symbol that denotes the functions, information, and aspects processed by each. The 8 IEs are:
In Socionics, people are divided into 16 sociotypes based on their two strongest functions based on their leading and creative functions (Jung’s dominant and auxiliary functions) or information elements. Each type also includes information on whether the personality is an introvert or an extrovert.
Some researchers use the additional elements of “judging” or “perceiving” to complete the formal name and description, but this often causes confusion with MBTI typing, which uses four elements.
The following chart includes the Socionic symbols, names, social roles, and examples of people who are thought to exemplify each personality type. Note the symbols are combinations of the 8 IEs listed above:
|Symbols/IE Numbers||Formal name||Full formal name||Social roles||Type alias examples|
|△⬛||ILi||Intuitive logical introvert||Analyst/Mastermind||Balzac, Jeff Bezos|
|△||IEi||Intuitive ethical introvert||Humanist/Empath||Yesenin, Ghandi|
|▲⬜||ILe||Intuitive logical extrovert||Seeker/Inventor||Don Quixote, Albert Einstein|
|▲||IEe||Intuitive ethical extravert||Psychologist/Reporter||Huxley, Ellen Degeneres|
|⬜▲||LIi||Logical intuitive introvert||Critic/Observer||Robespierre, Nicole Kidman|
|⬜⚫||LSi||Logical sensory introvert||Craftsman/Artisan||Maxim Gorky, Margaret Thatcher|
|⬛△||LIe||Logical intuitive extravert||Enterpriser/Pioneer||Jack London, Bill Gates|
|⬛🔘||LSe||Logical sensory extrovert||Administrator/Director||Stirlitz, Sherlock Holmes|
|⚫||ESi||Ethical sensory introvert||Lyricist/Romantic||Dreiser|
|▲||EIi||Ethical intuitive introvert||Mediator/Peacemaker||Dostoyevsky, Taylor Swift|
|🔘||ESe||Ethical sensory extravert||Bonvivant/Enthusiast||Hugo, Walt Disney, Meryl Streep|
|△||EIe||Ethical intuitive extravert||Mentor/Actor||Hamlet, Steve Jobs, Willam Shakespeare|
|🔘||SEi||Sensory ethical introvert||Guardian/Conservator||Dumas, Adele, Bob Ross|
|🔘⬛||SLi||Sensory logical introvert||Inspector/Pragmatist||Gabin, Harrison Ford|
|⚫||SEe||Sensory ethical extravert||Politician/Ambassador||Caesar, Elizabeth Taylor|
|⚫⬜||SLe||Sensory logical extravert||Legionnaire/Conqueror||Napoleon, Winston Churchill|
Aushra Augustinavichiute, as part of the development of Socionics, created Model A. Model A shows how a person processes information through eight functions and eight information elements. It is the combination of Jung’s work on psychological types and Kepinski’s work on information metabolism and is one of the central foundations of Socionics.
The eight structural components of the Model A psyche are grouped according to their role as part of ego, super-ego, super-id, and id blocks.
Each function and block have characteristics that are considered strong/weak, valued/unvalued, accepting/producing, and mental/vital. These are referred to as functional dichotomies. You’ll notice that each characteristic is first described as either accepting or producing. Accepting traits are considered fixed, and producing traits are variable.
Below are the functions and their characteristics:
There are particular rules for what information elements apply to what functions in Model A. The IEs in Model A show what aspects of reality are prioritized, etc.
The core elements of Socionics are information elements, functions, Model A, dichotomies, and intertype relationships. The 16 types can be divided into small groups: Quadras, Clubs, Temperments, and Romance Styles. If you are going to conduct a Socionics test, be prepared to study the core aspects and groups to best use the results to your advantage.
According to the International Institute of Socionics, there is a wide variety of uses for this theory and personality typing.
In business settings, knowledge of Socionics can be applied to:
Marketing may use Socionics for consumer segmentation and brand development. Market segmentation is the identification of segments based on your set criteria and the selection of the segments you want to target. Taking Socionic types into consideration during segmentation helps you identify the personal characteristics and buying behaviors of each segment. Using the 16 types to inform brand development will help you appeal to the personality traits of the segments you are ultimately targeting with your brand personality.
In human resources, Socionics can help predict how an applicant will adapt and perform in a group or environment.
In education, teachers may use Socionics to understand how students metabolize information and provide teaching methods that will work best with their personality types.
In medicine, Socionics is used in the treatment of alcohol-related addictions to speed up the recovery process.
Before you can create a Socionics test that will yield accurate, useful results, you’ll need to take a deep dive into Socionics. The necessary questions are developed with specific language, question types, and interpretations.
If you prefer not to send your participants to a Socionics website, you can recreate the questions in the form of a survey, but you will also have to consider how to analyze the results accurately.
There are several types of questions used in Socionics tests. Multiple choice questions, rating questions, and other closed questions are frequently used. In some cases, a respondent is asked to look at a large grid of words and to choose those they feel accurately represent them.
Here are some examples of Socionic survey questions:
What is your gender?
What year were you born?
Slider with years from 1940-2020
Please choose the phrase that best describes you:
Please choose the phrase that best describes you:
Use the slider to indicate your position:
Which statement fits you best?
Which type of behavior do you value most in a significant other but have difficulty producing by yourself?
Which statement describes you?
I like a future where…
Which statement best describes you?
I don’t mind it when my life is…
Which statement is true about you?
Whether you create your own Socionics survey or use an existing one, socionics personality testing will provide you with some interesting data to add to your business and marketing toolkit.