School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

Published: Socionics, Mentology, and Personality Psychology, 2012, № 1

Research of Response Information Element Change in the A-Model


Research purpose: investigate the process of response information element change (RIEC) in the A-Model .

Theoretical background of this research is interpretation of  the A-Model  from the point of view of the control theory  as presented by V.D.  Yermak [1].

According to V.D.  Yermak control transfer is actuation of functions and blocks in a specific order during information processing. Low-dimensional blocks of the A-model (Super-Ego and Super-Id) are control blocks and high-dimensional (Ego and Id) are executive blocks. Control transfer is effectuated in direction from control to executive blocks, between vital track and mental track super-blocks, and between functions in horizontal blocks.

In our case we cannot reliably establish the order in which functions have triggered, so we introduced a notion of  response information element change (RIEC).

Cases when an interviewee was asked a question in semantics of a particular information element (IE), but his answer comes either right away in terms of different information element's semantics or the answer’s semantics switches to different information element in the course of the answer, were considered a response information element change.


Hierarchy is a system of people's relationships, which determines who must obey the instructions and who to give these instructions. I think hierarchy should be obeyed… disobedience of hierarchy harms personal relationships. Usually I follow the hierarchy, but I try to soften it with informal contacts.

RIEC from L and F to R

Capacity to use force is not my strong point or my virtue, but patience and waiting is. I can easily give in if I see some future benefit for me in doing so. Much bigger gift of destiny will come my way eventually and I'll be satisfied.

RIEC from F to T

— How would you like to improve the public morals?

— I'd like having clean streets, especially lawns and recreational areas. This garbage everywhere irritates me!

RIEC from R to S

So we know the “input” and “output” information elements. And after the TIM identification is over we are able to determine to which function the control was transferred.

This research was conducted using standard SSS TIM identification protocols. SSS identification protocols contain  full records of TIM identification process: all questions and answers of the  interviewee (except some parts that the interviewee does not wish to disclose in public), marked indicators of function parameters, comments made by experts, and final conclusion about TIM. The protocols are available in electronic form at the SSS website.

Protocol analysis and RIEC detection was carried out using the “Information analysis” computer program which has built-in tools for RIEC mark up.

In total 20 protocols were analyzed, comprising 6696 comments of experts.

Interviewees age ranged from 21 to 38 years.

1137 relations between functions had been marked. 494 of them (43.4%) were relations within horizontal blocks, and 643 (56.6%) were vertical and diagonal relations.

It should be noted that V. D. Yermak does not consider links between functions  processing elements of the same macro-element as cases of control transfer [1]. But for the convenience of the research, we registered all RIECs, including those within one macro-element.

Links of information elements within horizontal blocks were marked separately since it is not always possible to distinguish between the source and resultant functions of a block, but it is still possible to pinpoint  the block as a semantic unit.

Here is an example of a R and I block:

Honesty is when you treat people with respect (R) and recognize their individual worth (I) even if they differ from you (I) or if you dislike them (R), do not understand (I), or do not agree with them.

Thereby we determined the block of functions but did not specify control transfer in it.

In the course of the research we obtained the following results.


Total amount of RIECs to functions (blocks)

RIEC to function Count % RIEC to block
→ 1 222 34,5 Ego 449 (69,8%)
→ 2 227 35,3
→ 3 32 5 Superego 43 (6,7%) 85 (13,2%)
→ 4 11 1,7
→ 5 15 2,3 Superid 42 (6,5%)
→ 6 27 4,2
→ 7 53 8,3 Id 109 (17%)
→ 8 56 8,7
Total 643 100  


Total amount of RIECs from functions (blocks)

RIEC from function Count % RIEC from block
1 10 1,5 Ego 23 (3,6%)
2 13 2
3 91 14,2 Superego 224 (34,8%) 445 (69,2%)
4 133 20,7
5 130 20,2 Superid 221 (34,4%)
6 91 14,2
7 94 14,6 Id 175 (27,2%)
8 81 12,6
Total 643 100  


Amount of marked relations within horizontal blocks

Ego 191
Superego 67
Superid 136
Id 100
Total 494 (43,4%)


RIECs by functions

From function To function RIEC count
1 3 0
1 4 0
1 5 0
1 6 0
1 7 8
1 8 2
2 3 1
2 4 1
2 5 0
2 6 2
2 7 4
2 8 5
3 1 29
3 2 40
3 5 13
3 6 2
3 7 2
3 8 5
4 1 54
4 2 35
4 5 2
4 6 22
4 7 13
4 8 7
5 1 22
5 2 40
5 3 23
5 4 3
5 7 17
5 8 25
6 1 30
6 2 25
6 3 8
6 4 7
6 7 9
6 8 12
7 1 57
7 2 36
7 3 0
7 4 0
7 5 0
7 6 1
8 1 30
8 2 51
8 3 0
8 4 0
8 5 0
8 6 0
Total 643


In the course of the research there were noted some cases when a RIEC occurred diagonally (diagonal imperatives) between functions 1–3, 2–4, 5–7, 6–8.

According to T.N. Prokofieva, who uses the term by E.V. Shepetko,  a diagonal imperative is «pairs of functions located in the model (Kiev School version) diagonally across with respect to each other. These are functions of the same intro/extroversion and the same rationality.  Simply put, these are two possible approaches to decision-making and choise for its implementation» [2].

N. Shifrina gives the following definition:

Diagonal imperative means solving difficult situation using a diagonally located function [3].

T. N. Prokofieva suggests following options for problem solving. Quote:

Four options available.

1.    Way out of painful function through creative function. It is a very effective “salvation” method when outer demands overload the painful function (point of least resistance). Creative function is very agile and inventive, can process huge amount of information fast (no wonder it is considered three-dimensional) and find ways out of difficult situations. So if painful function is jeopardized there is a reason to switch to creative function. Why not to the basic function which is also very strong? Basic function is located in inert block of Model A and creative is in contact block. Contact blocks are less vulnerable to criticism and outside influences.

2.    Switch from role function should be done through basic function. Role function is much less vulnerable than painful function but it can “mess things up” much more. This is where we need a way out through powerful four-dimensional function which is able to take into account not only its own reality but reality of other people too.

3.    Switching from the suggestive function should be done through the framing function: sometimes limiting superfluous credulity means saving yourself.

4.    And from referent function through background function which works wordlessly and practically. Why? Referent function is also called an activation function, it ignites from the effects of the environment. If this ignition brings us positive emotions – well, that's fine. But if it is annoying it's just time to do business without discoursing about annoying things. This is what eighth function in the A-Model A.

There are situations where the weak functions helps strong one by "pulling" their excess energy.

Imagine a researcher inventing weapons or negative influence methods. Creative function works. Invention can bring a lot of grief if nothing prevents it. Painful function which knows what fear is holds back the excessive creativity, reminding that others may fear too. The same approach to other weak functions. I suggest the reader to come up with own examples and solutions.

Italicizing is ours — I.E., V.T.

According to the results of this research RIEC from high-dimensional blocks to low-dimensional amounts to less than one percent (0.8%) of cases, so use of the diagonal imperatives 1→3 and 2→4 for «pulling off excess energy» seems unfounded. RIEC in direction from low-dimensional blocks occurs both diagonally and vertically. Such transfers are effectuated towards functions with greater dimensionality regardless of extroversion/introversion and rationality. This correlates with the theory of control transfer from low-dimensional control blocks to high-dimensional executive blocks [1]. According to the authors, such transfers are natural to the psyche, and problem solving of complex (unpleasant, embarrassing) situations should be searched there first, and use of the diagonal imperatives 4→2 and 3→1  as a "means to solve a difficult situation" limits the area of possible solutions. Conscious control transfer for the vital track super block is not possible at all, due to the automaticity of vital track super block.



1.    During TIM identification RIECs are effectuated mostly from low-dimensional (69.2%) to high-dimensional functions (86.8%). There are practically no RIECs from Ego and Id blocks to low-dimensional blocks (0.8%).

2.    RIEC from the vital track super-block to the mental track super-block amounts to 332, almost 4 times more than RIEC from the mental track to the vital track superblock — 87 (48 of them are relations between functions of one macro-element).

3.    The most of transfers occurs in direction to Ego block (about 70%). While transfers from Ego block are rare (3.6%), and mostly are relations with Id block. Thus, presence of RIECs in direction to a specific block combined with absence of reverse RIECs can point to Ego block.

4.    Horizontal links within blocks amount to 494 (43.4% of total number of links). Regarding horizontal blocks, the Ego block can be seen most often, the Superego block is seen less often. It confirms the assumption  that Ego block is clearly verbalized.

5.    Vertical links between functions of one macro-element have amounted to 186 (16.6% of total links count)

6.    Diagonal transfers (imperatives) between functions 1–3, 2–4, 5–7, 6–8 amount to  94 (8.3% of all links between functions of the A-model). Using only diagonal imperatives for problem solving seems unfounded because of the following reasons:

a)    In practice, there are very few diagonal transfers from first and second functions. This is because first and second functions, in fact, do not need such transfers and handle tasks in their respective information elements well.

b)   The same applies to the seventh and eighth functions. Seventh and eighth functions distinctive feature is a larger number of transfers to the Ego block functions. This is because vital track functions automatism not always allows to handle non-standard situations and in this case task is transferred to high-dimensional functions of Ego block.

c)    Transfers from low-dimensional functions were observed in many cases and not necessarily were diagonal. A requirement of strictly diagonal control transfers to solve difficult problems seems farfetched.

d)   As the resulting statistics shows, there were practically no “diagonal imperatives” from seventh and eighth functions.

e)    Recommendation to transfer control for purposes of problem solving from the fifth function to the seventh and from the sixth function to the eighth is totally unfeasible due to automatic nature of functioning  of the vital track super-block.

7.    Because TIM identification has relied upon detection of dimensionality, sign and vital/mental quality parameters, RIEC may be considered as an independent cross-check tool for Ego block identification.

8.    Results of this research do confirm validity of  interpretation of the A-Model in terms of the control theory.



1.    Yermak V.D. Classical socionics — Moscow: Chernaya belka, 2009. (in Russian)
2.    Prokofieva T.N. Personal development and socionic functions // Zhurnal NSO. — 2006. — № 1. (in Russian)
3.    Shifrina N.  http://professionali.ru/Topic/17061956 (in Russian)


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