School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

Functions of the A-model. The four dimensions of a function

Extract from the book of Eglit I.M. "Socionic type identification. From A to Z tutorial" (translation from Russian)

Each function has a certain set of properties which distinguish it from the other functions. Knowing these properties, you can learn to recognize the "signature" of a function, showing through a person's speech.

There are three characteristics that differentiate one function from another: 

1.    Dimension (one-, two-, three-or four-dimensional).

2.    Sign ("plus" or "minus").

3.    Track (vital or mental).

Combination of these three properties determine the location of a function in a specific TIM model and its distinctive features related to information processing.

  • Function 1 - mental track, four-dimensional
  • Function 2 - mental track, three-dimensional
  • Function 3 - mental track, two-dimensional
  • Function 4 - mental track, one-dimensional
  • Function 5 - vital track, one-dimensional
  • Function 6 - vital track, two-dimensional
  • Function 7 - vital track, three-dimensional
  • Function 8 - vital track, four-dimensional

The sign of a function depends on affiliation of the particular TIM model to one of the so-called octavе social progress rings.

·         TIMs that belong to the so called right-hand social progress ring (IL, SE, ET, LF, FR, TP, PS, RI), have the "plus" sign at their function 1.

·         TIMs that belong to the left hand social progress ring (ES, LI, FL, TE, PT, RF,IR, SP), have the "minus" sign at their function 1.

As for signs of other functions, all functions of same color have the same sign. It is easy to determine the sign of any function for a given TIM, if you remember the sign of the function 1 of this TIM's model.


The four dimensions of a function


Dimension of a function - is the number of parameters with the reference to which the function is processing information.

There are 4 parameters of information processing:

  1. The Experience (Ex) parameter.
  2. The parameters of Norms (Nr).
  3. The parameter of Situation (St).
  4. The Time parameter (Tm).


Dimension one - the "experience" parameter


With this parameter begins our perception of the world. You touch things, you get the feeling of the touch - this is your sensory experience. You feel sad, you live through this feeling - this is your emotional experience; you feel sorry for a hungry puppy - this is your experience of empathy (ethics); you understand the meaning of what has been said - it's your intuitive experience; you feel the length of the conversation - this is your experience of time; you hammer a nail - this is your experience with objects; you catch a logical connection between phenomena - this is your logical experience.

Every experience is individual. Every next moment there is a new experience, a new feeling, a new understanding. Experiences do not repeat, they accumulate. Every experience is a point in the space of the world. A single point. Nobody will be able to get exactly the same experience as you. No one can see with your eyes, nobody will be able to touch with your hands or able to understand with your mind.  Experience can not be passed to another person, you can only put the other person in the same condition in which you received your experience so that he gets a similar experience. Similar, but not yours. You can try to describe your experience but it will only be a description. The listener will not pass your experience through his bodily sensors, he will reconstruct it in his imagination. All he can do is imagine your experience in his own way. Within the dimension "experience" you are alone in the whole universe.

Thus, the essence of the "experience" parameter, its distinguishing characteristic is individuality and non-transferability  to another person. The "experience" parameter is present in all the functions. It is a fundamental parameter. "Experience is the basic component of information processing that allows us to link the internal operations of the human psyche with the outside world."

One-dimensional functions (# 4 and #5) are the functions that have only one parameter - the "experience" parameter

The consequence of such one-dimensional perception by an information function is self-awareness: pleasant/unpleasant; I like it/ I dislike it; I feel good / I feel bad; I feel it/I don't feel it; I understand/I do not understand, etc. Actually that is what experience is - direct individual psychological reaction to a contact with the world. For a one-dimensional function there is no mechanism of comparison with any reference. If it is necessary to take a decision, one can remember his past experiences. And the typical solution (if there is a similar experience) is to retrace the same path by your old steps. This reinforces the "well-beaten track" of the reaction pattern.

Normally, a person always needs to get confirmation of the "correctness" of his responses (his understanding, his actions, his thinking) which relate to his one-dimensional functions (#5 and #4) simply because he lives in a society. Our education engraves in us the tendency to divide everything into right and wrong: "do you do it right?", "do you behave right?", "do you dress in a right manner?", "do you eat in a right manner?" and so on. Such confirmation or its opposite can be either approval or criticism. Of course, we all would like to get approved, but for some reason, life is such that others are eager to express their dissatisfaction and hold back their approval.

If a one-dimensional function accumulates a lot of negative feedback, a person may develop an inferiority complex, and adopt the attitude of a victim. Sometimes one can witness a burst of indignation (especially coming from the vital track function 5) when there is an accumulated expectation of positive feedback, and there in no feedback coming, and often the person may not realize the cause of such an accumulated frustration.

An individual needs a response to the question "what is the right way?", "what is required?". A one-dimensional function develops its own individual understanding of the "rightness", some kind of norms substitutes. And such norms substitutes often are expressed as a kind of "spell" or self-suggestion formulas (and in that they differ from the true norms).

Another way of comparing to others for a one-dimensional function is an assessment of the effort, energy invested into an action. Also, when there is a need to take a decision, a person can make use of the norms available in the adjacent function ( the block neighbor function) or make use of the second function of the same macro element (for example, P<-> L, E<-> R, etc.)



If I feel lonely for someone it means that I love this person, if I do not feel loneliness - it means that I do not love him/her (interpretation of R through E)

If he tried very hard then the thing is done well, if he did not try hard then he did not do it well (e\/aluation or result by the amount of visible effort)

I try not to think about it, this way nothing bad will happen (individual suggestion formula)

If I understood it then I'm clever (block: interpretation of L through I [1]

If you love me, then I'm a good person (block: interpretation of I through R )

A job is well done if I had not noticed shortcomings (individual formula of complacency)

A job is well done if I have a feeling of satisfaction with the result (judgement by e\/aluation of individual energy state).

If I read a lot then I am clever, if I don't then I am stupid (individual suggestion formula).

Having no comparison tool (no possibility to use any norm as a reference), a one-dimensional function can transfer the problem to a multidimensional block. For example, logical types understand relationships by interpreting them through logical rules.

Any information that ends up in a one-dimensional function is assessed by the function as pleasant or unpleasant. Natural (from the viewpoint of one-dimensional function) reaction when encountering an "unpleasant" information is the desire to get rid of it, to turn away, not to take it into account, to pretend that it does not exist, to forget, to fence off in any way.

One of the methods of "getting away" is mental time hastening - "I wish it ends quickly," which leads to the feverishness of the function. Thinking becomes impatient, shallow and very narrow. It can be compared with the rapid running through dark places, when your field of vision is narrowed to a spot, you do not want to see anything around. Reactions are accelerated, there is haste. We are hurriedly doing something to get rid of the unpleasant thing faster: we quickly tinker through our relationship, we hastily make our calculation, or in general, we quickly react to the information related to the element of our one-dimensional function. This, of course, often leads to mistakes, and we get the opposite of what we have hoped for - we do not get rid of the unwanted situation, we make it worse. Trying to "run through" the situation at high speed, just to feel relieved that it's over, deep down, we still feel that we are failing and we feel "suspended." The suggestive function (#5) may show feverishness of its reactions coming from the desire to quickly get the expected pleasure. Such "feverishnes" of one-dimensional functions is apparent for an outside observer.

What features of mental reactions point to the one-dimensionality of information processing?

·         Reliance on previous experience when trying to comprehend, e\/aluate, understand the new experience, when searching for a new solution. This is similar to walking the old beaten track: movement in one direction only, and only repeating the same track.

·         Repetition over and over of similar reactions, e\/aluations and decisions.

·         The use of language expressive means that help a person to isolate, mark-up individual perception.

·         Inability to make reference to a fixed norm, to a pattern or a rule, which causes constant anxiety.

·         Accumulation of errors resulting from inadequate (not complying with the social norms) decisions and actions, leading to formation of fears and complexes. It could be right the opposite - an inadequate over-confidence (a publicly demonstrated mask, behind which hide all the same fears and insecurities).

·         The desire to "cut off" part of the the information, "shut ones eyes", often it manifests in traces of failures getting "erased" from the memory.

·         Painful expectation of repetition of the bad experiences.

·         Haste in processing of unpleasant information.

·         Presence of fear.

·         Desire to get more and more information by the suggestive function(f. 5).

·         Confusion when e\/aluating new situations.

·         Processing of information feels like a huge loss of energy.

·         The lack of norms for comparison may cause unexpected inadequate self-esteem. The person may not be aware of how adequately he is processing the information, so he can can judge his one-dimensional function to be a very strong one.

·         Possible suggestibility. No critical assessment of information.


Dimension two. Parameters "experience" and "norms"

How do we understand each other? How can we come to terms with the others? We can not live without communication, without coordinating our actions, thoughts, understanding and perception.

In order to come to a mutual agreement there must be something that is commonly accepted, something that is perceived and understood by all in the same way. And that's where comes into play the next parameter - the "norms".

Norms - are something which is conventionally recognized by a group of people. Norms are something which allows you to compare things, they are patterns, a standard reference. Society could not exist without such conventions.

If experience can be imagined as single dots on the world map, the norms could be seen as fixed lines stretching from some point to another.  Norms perfectly reflect the dualistic division of the world into good/bad, good/evil, right/wrong, you need/you do not need accept/do not accept ours/strangers, etc. These are very definite guidelines. And because of their definitive quality, they are rigid and inflexible. They are firm as sentinels guarding what they are meant to guard.

Now you are able to explain to someone else what the green color is - because there are the color charts. Now you can be sure that you are holding your fork and knife up to the etiquette. Now you know that you won't to shock people, by putting on white socks together with dark trousers.  Now you are firmly convinced that 2 +2 = 4, and thank God, everyone has been taught that in school. You can now refer to a dictionary or a textbook. All in all, we have finally found something definite in this ever-changing and multifaceted world.

Two-dimensional functions ( #3 and #6) - are the functions that process information according to the parameters "experience" (Ex) and "norms" (Nr)

How does the thinking of a two-dimensional (normative) function sound like?

It is clear that it must be the most correct and proper mindset in the world, because it is exactly up to the conventions, because it follows the rules and agreements. What could be better? Everything is predictable and determined, everything is right on the mark. Men are courteous with ladies. Everyone is kind and friendly. Long live general consent. Hurray!


And in order to create such a "paradise on earth" serve the following:

  •          proverbs and idioms, which reflect established views and beliefs;
  •          regulations, rules and laws;
  •          reference books;
  •          uniform education;
  •          trusted sources of information;
  •          set of superstitions and customs;
  •          obligations;
  •          conformism;
  •          conventionalism.

Let's try to look at "norms" being applied to respective information elements.

For example, the normative E can be seen in identical cliche smiles. Examine carefully your photographs and photographs of other people. Particularly well this can be seen on photographs of children, because children are more spontaneous when express their natural emotions. If you scroll through a family album, you will notice that facial expressions of some people are nearly the same on all pictures, whereas others have a wider emotional range. Normative smiles look standard and correct in all situations. As if normative E-types feel some limit to how much they can stretch their facial muscles, and everything that goes further is risky and ventures beyond the the average. Normative E-types know well situations in which they are required to smile, for example, when meeting people, when saying "goodbye" when showing their disposition to someone during a conversation, etc.

Normative R is knowing the rules of manners, the rules of courtesy - men let forward women in the doorway, yield a seat in the public transport. One's behavior should not cause inconveniences to other people, one should always say hello, say goodbye, be polite, etc. The thing which we call good manners is normative behavior in terms of R. A normative R-type looks tactful, polite, courteous, in general he looks "correct" in his manners.

Normative I seeks to absorb the "right" understanding and interpretation of everything it is facing. Outwardly, this can manifest in frequent use of some idioms, witty phrases "hitting the nail on the head" joined with the urge to use them in conversation (show off one's erudition). But, be careful, this is rather not a sharp improvisation, not a game of the true wit, this is merely a repetition of the cliches which one considers to be witty. It takes some time and observation to clearly distinguish between the two cases. A normative I-type tends to convey ideas in unambiguous and accurate way and expects the same from the others. The game of meanings (creative manifestation of intuition) is not for him. He would rather not get confused in a labyrinth of meanings. Sometimes one could observe a manifestation of normativity related to the I-element as repetition of quotes or ideas after a smart and reputable person. A normative I-type is rigidly fixed to his set of meanings, and believes them to be uncompromisingly true.

Some examples of norms related to the I-element:

  •          stereotype use of the meanings of words and concepts
  •          plain messages in accordance with generally accepted meanings
  •          The need to make everything clear and unambiguous
  •          The need to understand the essence of things
  •          the need to understand a person's motives, his personal traits and qualities
  •          need to have a sense of everything
  •          the need to understand and be understood

Normative T manifests in punctuality and stereotyped understanding of the course of events, fate, luck. Normative T is often characterized by fatalism trust in predictions (divination), making certain rituals in order to magnetize a desired event or avoid an undesired one. A person with the normative T is credulous towards the sources that seemingly accurately predict "what would happen", if he knows that many people rely on the source (for example, numerology, astrology, etc.)

Normative F relies on the existing social norms regarding the boundaries, space, financial wealth etc. It is guided by the standard, rather rigid rules regarding the need to protect property or accepted level of aggression. For example: "One must defend the homeland, relatives and people who can not defend themselves." A normative F-type is aware of socially accepted means of protection and standard ways to attack (for the minus sign), and is acting on the basis of general notions of limits of protection (aggression), for example, "never hit a man when he is down", "eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", "a defense must be proportional to the attack" etc. A normative F-type can correctly estimate the degree of spatial proximity to another person and considers the property right: to whom the things belong and what could be taken without asking.

A normative S-type follows an inner drive to correspond to the established rules of clothing, color combination, follows the rules of hygiene and tidiness. He can follow certain stereotypes of how to dress, which are accepted within his social circle.  He has a stereotype understanding of how visual perception of certain forms can be manipulated (for example, narrow/wide strips or checks used to create visual effects of narrowing or expansion). We can generalize this tendency with the maxim " to be like everyone else", where "everyone else" can refer to followers of a new fashion or a specific style as well as the classical standard.  The person himself does not experiment, but is following and imitating the others. The vital track two-dimensional function is more likely to stick to its own acquired patterns, habitual dress models and color combinations.

People with normative P tend to the exact implementation of technology, methods, specific actions, they tend to be "right" professionals. That usually makes them diligent executors. Work is work, work is duty.

Normative L manifests as effort to be consistent (in thought and deed) - usually for rational types it is striving to follow the rules, fixation on a certain theory, it can be a correctness of reasoning, a standard approach to the classifications, generalizations. This is the standardization itself.[2]

This all serves as a basis for people's two-dimensional functions - in their thinking, in their outlook.  And people can confidently defend their normative views, because it is important for them to feel the certainty and firmness of the things.  Thus, the essence of the dimension two is the quality of being right and rigidity, there are definite black-and-white style guidelines.

All that was said above about the characteristic features of the normative functions is completely true for the mental track normative function 3, also known as the "function of social norms." The function 6, as you know, belongs to the vital track of information processing, and it is called "the function of individual norms." The same norms are present there, the function is rigid in the similar way, but the norms here are not regarded as social, they are rather meant "for personal use". This does not mean that they are formed in isolation from the society, on the contrary, these rules are formed in the childhood, under the influence of the family and the school. But it looks as if a person selects from all the norms that society has to offer those with which he agrees.  It turns out that the rules are assimilated on the personal level, in the form in which the person had learned them. Therefore, the personal norms may be the same as social ones, or may differ. But the general feature of a normative function is there, which is following the set patterns, the quality of correctness, and the feeling of duty.

Another feature of the function 6, (also known as the "reference function") is the desire to get confirmation (preferably a praise). Asking for a praise often bypasses awareness of the person himself. It seems as if an adult person should not be asking for a praise, it looks childish to act like that (because the norms are already internalized), but the wanting of a positive feedback is still present, and it comes through to the surface somehow.  Typically it can manifest in the form of non verbal signs. The person does not say bluntly: "Come on, someone praise me", but instead he pleadingly looks into your eyes, or repeats the same sentence several times, as if expecting the desired reaction, or keeps returning the conversation to the "sweet" topic over and over...


Dimension three. Parameters "experience", "norms", "situation"

The third dimension is a breakthrough from relying only on function's experience and norms to being able to consider the situational circumstances. With the norms we have got a solid foundation to help us stabilize the world. But this is not enough. We need to "look further out" beyond the walls of regulations. We are not robots, by God! The world is too complex to fit into the "Procrustean bed" of rules and patterns. And besides, it is colorful! People want to create. Creativity is our engine, a kind of luring "carrot". And we enjoy the process of creation itself as well as its fruits.

Three-dimensional functions (#2 and #7) have parameters of "experience", "norms" and "situation."

Of course, everyone at least once in his life, had experienced something like: "Yes, I understand that it would be all right if I do it so and so, but in this particular case... I am going to do it the other way. " The function 2 (the so-called "creative" function) is flexible and adaptable to each new situation. It is impossible to measure everything applying a "common yardstick", and it takes a three-dimensional function to realize this fact (for normative functions the "common yardstick" is a most perfect measure).

For example, a creative approach to education is situational, but if "one size fits all" then we have the standard educational system. "White top, dark bottom" uniforms is a normative approach, but when your clothing respects your shapes, sex, mood, needs, and so on - this is a situational approach. Whereas a two-dimensional function distinguishes minimum number of grades, which can be generalized as thinking in terms polarities, the three-dimensional function 2 discerns many shades, subtleties and details. This is not any longer a Lumberjack's blunt ax - swung and cut, it is a tool for fine tuning and adjustment. You can find there so many linguistic means to convey the full range of situational shades! What a variety of approaches! And for each new situation a new solution is offered.


When processing information using the situational approach, it is difficult to agree with the narrow limits of the normative "correctness":

- How do you know what kind of relationship between people is right and what is wrong?

- I would say that all relationships are right in their own way. Calling them "right" or "wrong" seems inadequate to me.  Any relationship has a right to be, because it has been caused by some natural reasons. Another thing is that we might not like that relationship. The word "wrong" is probably applicable to the type of relationship when people violate the very naturalness of human relationships when they are trying to do something out of some idealistic notions or speculations. Then it looks unnatural, artificial and, one might even say, wrong.


- How to distinguish between right and wrong relationships?

- It is impossible. The concept of relationship is too broad and multifaceted, it is impossible to determine whether it is right or not. Relationship just is.


A three-dimensional function rises above norms. But this does not mean that it ignores the generally accepted conventions. Each of the higher dimensions is based on the foundation of the lower ones. Without the "experience" and ''norms" there would be no "situation".

The function 2 of the model is not only a tool (this was discussed in the topic " Function blocks "), but also a field of manifestation (conditions the basis for realization) of the first function. This field is very flexible, supple, adaptable to the tasks of the function 1.  The function 1 is realizing itself in element of the function 2. If the conditions of the function 2 are not suitable, they are changed for better ones.

A LSE-type http://socionicasys.org/images/symbols/aspect_P.png?1http://socionicasys.org/images/symbols/aspect_S.png?1 discovers  various properties in this world of objects. He is a master of things and objects, he juggles with the objects, transforms them, he notices the undiscovered properties which are overlooked by the others and discovers them. He is the master of matter (materials), a creator in the material world. All that is described above is the P element http://socionicasys.org/images/symbols/aspect_P.png?1 . In order to make a masterpiece, you need to create the most comfortable conditions and remove all that could bother http://socionicasys.org/images/symbols/aspect_S.png?1 . A LSE-type operates in the field of senses , space, shapes, sizes http://socionicasys.org/images/symbols/aspect_S.png?1 .

In contrast to the PS-type, a LIE-type  operates in the field of events, temporal changes .He grasps the fine tendencies of time  , knows what actions are required by the moment  and what will be needed in the future  .

An ILE-type  sees capacities of objects, either real or virtual (L is the element that has to do with relations between objects), An IEE-type  reveals the capacities (the inner nature of the persons) in the world of relationships.

Emotions of an ESE-type  are directly related to the field of sensory perception (comfort, aesthetics, and beauty), emotions of an EIE-type  manifest themselves in the field of events, changes, global temporal processes ("to preserve the enthusiasm through hardships and difficulties").

SEE-type  exerts in the field of relationship, an SLE-type  - exerts in the field of logical structures (rules, laws, schemes).

One of the names of the function 2 is "the creative function". Are we creative only when it concerns the function 2? No. Even a one-dimensional function can create, in the sense of making something new. Many creative people - artists, designers, sculptors, fashion designers - create new things using their one-dimensional functions. And their deeply individual vision of the world surprises us with its unusual, unconventional, shocking, sometimes strange and incomprehensible side. The socionic term "creative function" should be understood as a "function, which serves to finalize the goal-setting of the function 1, thus creating "production" of the function 1."

The function 7 is another three-dimensional function, i.e. it processes information, with reference to "experience", "norms" and "situation". However it has some specific features related to its affiliation to the vital track super block: the function 7 performs its functions in an automatic, habitual way. Is there no contradiction between the automatic nature of its functioning, which presumes lack of awareness characteristic of the vital track, and the requirement to take into account the situational parameters (to function in accordance with the current situation)?

V.D. Yermak calls the function 7 "the function of individual programs". It is as if this function contains programs to various situations that occur in our life. Such programs are similar to templates. What is the difference then between the normative function 7 and the function 6? The difference is that the function 7 is automatically considering circumstances of the current situation. So, if your function 7 processes information on the L element, then you are able without being aware of it to feel flaws in logic or inconsistency of your interlocutor. Sometimes you might be not aware what is the cause of this feeling, but you feel that there is some logic flaw for sure. Because of the automatic nature of this function, its reactions tend to rely on some fundamental, underlying set of attitudes and become habits: stereotyped emotions, conventional relationships patterns, habitual ways of seeing the nature of things, usual relations with time, familiar logical patterns, habitual work techniques, habitual attitudes to comfort, stereotyped dress styles, proven defensive reactions or aggression bursts.

So far - so good, but sometimes we notice that there is something wrong with some of our habitual reactions. That's when arises a need to change these reactions. As you know, habits are hard to change. If one could at least stop the undesirable reaction before the function 7 habitually turns on.  And it is extremely difficult, otherwise the reaction would not be automatic one. The ID-block functions' reactions can be changed only with help of the mental track EGO-block functions. For example, if the usual for a RI-type gloomy mood (-E) bothers his partner, then in order to avoid worsening of relationships (+ R), he will gradually change his emotional habits. If a LII or a LSI need to change their habitual programs of the function 7 (practical logic), they need to elaborate the new algorithms and operational sequences using their function 1 (structural logic), etc.

Another feature of the function 7 - is that it caters for individual needs of a person. For the most part everything that is happening in the ID super block - serves only to your personal needs. This logic (ethics, comfort etc.) is just for yourself and no one else. When it comes to the ID functions the social attitude could be described as: "let me live and express myself the way I like, the way which is convenient for me." And if suddenly the function 7 receives information that is not consistent with the individual understanding of a person, it can be annoying. The function 7 has no claims towards the society at least as long as the sosiety does not contradict to the person's individual programs.  These programs had been accumulating in the early childhood, they are quite familiar and handle life situations rahter well. But they are viscerally individual.

The functioning of the function 7 seems very similar to that of a normative function: it relies on long-standing, rigid, individually developed techniques and methods. You may ask, how do you distinguish a nomative function from a situational yet automatic (belonging to the vital track) one? It can be done by noticing specific reactions, as well as the dimension of information processing.  A multidimensional function, as opposed to a normative one, can confidently function in different situations, including difficult ones. It faces a failure as normal thing - there is no reason to get upset, it is rather an occasion to correct a mistake, change the approach (according to the situation), to learn from the result .  Unpleasant? Yes. But nothing dramatic. The function 7 is a kind of "hard-nosed" self-righteous one[3]. However the outer appearances are not emough to identify the function - one has to "measure" its dimension, i.e. confirm the presence of the St paramenter.

Because the function 7 is a vital track function, the verbal information that is coming from this function does not sound as thoughts (like mental track information would sound) but sounds rather like remembering of what usually happens.

So, now we can summarize and draw a list the characteristics that can be seen at the three-dimensional functions:

  •         avoiding the rigid "correctness" of normative functions;
  •         going beyond the norms, if it is required by a specific situation;
  •         abundance of gradations, shades and details instead of the extreme polarities of fixed rules;
  •         flexibility and adaptability to each new situation (function 2); 
  •         confidence in their decisions, in their own self-esteem.


Dimension four. Parameters of "experience", "norms", "situation" and "time" (or "globality")

The most difficult to understand, but perhaps the most interesting dimension - is the dimension four. V.D.Ermak defines it as "a point on the timeline serving as a reference parameter for an information function and binding information processing to a certain point in the past, present or future." A.V. Bukalov calls it "the globality vector", or "the time vector."

So, we have the two references: time and globality.

Lets examine the "time" parameter. It is important not to confuse the "time" parameter with the information element T (intuition of time). A clear distinction needs to be made here.

Time as the information element T (intuition of time) represents information about changes. When we are mentioning an information element we are referring to the semantics (meaning) of the information being processed. What is the meaning of a T-message? Changes. For example:

Yesterday I left my home half an hour later, and was nearly late for work.

This is an example of an information message having semantics of T element (intuition of time.) It has to do with how events correlate in time: the usual routine of leaving the house, yesterdays event of leaving the house and the moment of arrival to work. Alternation of events is perceived by us as the flow of time. Describing the relationship of some of the facts, we're talking about events i.e. T element. It should be mentioned here that every person has the notion and vocabulary of time, i.e. everyone can successfully use linguistic expressive means to describe temporal phenomena regardless of his/her TIM. Everyone has understanding of what is "yesterday" and what means "one hour later".  From the above example we can conclude that the main information element of the message is T - the intuition of time. And that's all we can do. The passage contains no other indicators (regarding dimension or sign or pertinence to either mental or vital track of information processing).

Time as a parameter (the dimension four) relates to the quality of information processing, its power or measure. Lets look at the process of information perception starting from the dimension one and going up to the dimension four. First we pass the information through our senses, we touch it and give a name to our perception (experience) then we correlate what we have felt with some templates (norms), then we assess the current situation and make corrections accordingly (situation) and, finally, we see what is going on as flow, constant change (the time parameter).  In fact, we have four measuring tapes, four gauges to assess the incoming information: we can gauge it up to our experience, up to the norms, up to the situation and up to a moment in time. So, when in comes to the parameter "time", we are talking about gauging information processing, we are talking about how the information is processed.

The third dimension parameter ("situation") is actually static. It's like a frame of a photo camera film. One shot - one situation, next shot - next situation. This is a 3D snapshot, it covers a lot of detail, but still it is just a frame. The fourth ("time") parameter, to continue our analogy, resembles a functioning movie projector: there are no individual frames - only a constant movement of the film image. It's impossible to tear out a single frame from this film, as one can not tear a day from his life. I think, that explains why some socionic authors describe the function 1 as a continuous function, and the function 2 (the resulting one) is described as a pulse function.

Four-dimensional functions (#1 and #8) have parameters "experience", "norms", "situation" and "time".

Imagine that you were shown a single situation-frame and asked how you would act in it. Your reaction will depend on the dimension of your respective information function. A three-dimensional function handles the information that is contained in the frame, so that the decision is made with reference to this situation. A four-dimensional function processes the information contained in the situation-frame, as well as the preceding frames and keeps in mind possible frames that could follow and considers all this material to make its decision. A four-dimensional function simply cannot be narrowed down to the situation, it perceives the situation not as something static but as a development. That's why these two functions could come to different solutions.

The dimension four is synonymous to dynamic perception of the constantly changing world. And how this perception is reflected in responses given during TIM identification interviews? Our observations show that a person is not inclined to give a definite and fixed answer, because in the world of constant change there is little place for fixed things, but he would rather say that at the moment such-and-such solution is the best possible one. And this, of course, implies that the solution is subject to change.

A solution of a "situational" function resolves the situation. A solution of a four-dimensional function solves the situation for this moment.  For example:

We have made a very detailed study of the fourth dimension, and have identified a number of indicators, which are found in speech and point to this dimension. The situation is such that study of external manifestations of the fourth dimension in speech is only possible for people whose TIMs are well known and who themselves are able to track the functioning of their TIM models, who can distinguish reactions of each function, and constantly monitor their thinking. There are not many such people. At the moment this is all that we can offer to those who study socionics.

The above passage is about an object - the "dimension of a function", which has been studied to a certain extent and for which are revealed some of its properties (the object and its properties, you can work with, belong to the information element T). The reference to "the moment" focuses on the fact that the author suggests further study of the object and that its properties are not yet fully explored (and can they be fully explored at all?). A four-dimensional P works constantly, every following moment it is not the same. Change in perception of object's properties can also happen constantly. It is reluctant to fix only one understanding or perception, but still it is necessary to do it to be able to convey to people the up to date results.

A four-dimensional function makes a "snapshot" and describes the frame. Sometimes it is called "in this situation", because it is a situation - stopped in one's mind and static. More often it is referred to as "the moment", and this expression reflects the dynamic ongoing nature of information processing. But sometimes you wouldn't catch any obvious indicators at all. That's why the dimension four is so elusive. 

The capacity of a four-dimensional function to encompass the thinking (related to the respective information element) in its development engenders its following peculiarity - "globality".

Globality of the function 1 is manifested in the fact that in the light of the fourth dimension a person can see all the "film" of a lifetime in its motion; he encompasses it with the mind's eye and understands where his development is heading. What it looks like in reality? For example, a person can see or simply understand that something constitutes his Way.

R, f. 1: You'd better ask yourself: "What does it mean - "my type"? What do I want from him? What can I personally accept in my life and what not"? I think, over time, this understanding changes, and so change the answers, they will be different in different periods of life, so the concept of "my type" will be different.

... From my experience, when I e\/aluated to what extent we [me and my girl] are compatible, I used to draw a mental picture: we are together doing ordinary everyday things that I usually do alone, that is, here we are living under the same roof, having breakfast together, we go shopping, discussing something, we are having good and bad moods, get sick, etc. If you can draw such a picture, and if you can believe in it, then you'll be able to co-exist with this person. Finally, if you want to invest more (ambitions) into the term "my type", you could imagine the picture: "I'm building a career, and he is patiently going through all the hardships of feeding our baby." If such a picture is plausible, then he is the "right" man.

The dimension four in T is constant awareness of the flow of changes and events.

The dimension four in I is constant following of relations between meanings and possibilities.

The dimension four in L is constant awareness of facts and actions related to the laws of cause and effect.

The dimension four in P is constant awareness of the facts and actions of the world of objects.

The dimension four in S is constant perception of flowing shapes, colors, tastes, and other sensory information.

The dimension four in F - is constant tracking of borders and boundaries, their movement and the force fields which influence the border configurations.

The dimension four in E - is constant feeling of energy states and their changes.

The dimension four in R - this constant tracking of the play of feelings.

[1] Our observations show that generally the concept of "clever" is perceived in terms of the L element.

[2] Similar descriptions of normative functions' manifestations could be used to for TIM identification based on the behavioral description. We would like to warn against such a simplified approach. The main purpose of these examples is to show how the phenomena related to the dimension "Nr" manifest themselves outwardly - generally they manifest as a form of the inner desire to pin down a certain fixed rule.  This is what you need to pay attention to when identifying a TIM. It can be manifested in a lot of ways, and I describe here only some of the manifestations which, from my experience, seem to be most typical ones.

[3] Maybe that is why some socionics call it "restrictive".