School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

Published: Socionics, Mentology, and Personality Psychology, 2009, № 4

Research of fears in one-dimensional functions

Keywords: socionics, type of informational metabolism of the psyche, mental function, fear, mechanism of fear.

A possible theoretical approach to the phenomenon of fear from the point of view of the system socionics is proposed. The practical materials that may be of interest to analyze the subject of the research are presented. The method of using a list of fears for forming a working hypothesis of psyche TIM in the diagnostic interview is proposed.

"A very fearful man can become a very brave man. He can create an armour around him. He can become a dare-devil, just to show that he is not afraid; just to show others that he is not afraid. And if he can go into danger, he can deceive himself that he is not afraid. But even the bravest man is afraid. His whole bravery is just around him; deep down he trembles."

Osho "Fear"

Fear, no doubt, is one of the brightest psychological phenomena. The importance of the phenomenon of fear can be judged by permanent interest from the religion, philosophy, psychology, esoteric doctrines, art and advertising. On the other hand, the complexity of the subject causes that in the modern natural and social sciences, despite many approaches, there is no uniform interpretation of this phenomenon. Many researchers have different views even about its definition.

Here are some definitions of fear from academic sources, which to some extent can be regarded as generally accepted.

Fear - an emotion that occurs in situations of threats to biological or social existence of the individual and aimed at the source of real or imagined danger. [1]

Fear - a state of anxiety, restlessness, mental confusion in front of any danger, misfortune, etc.; dread. [2]

Authors of this article became interested in the phenomenon of fear for several reasons:

- Fear is the emotional expression of mental activity, apparently carrying significant functional load, meaning that it would be interesting to interpret in terms of Socionics.
- The theme of fear is one of the most frequently encountered in socionic diagnostic, so a good understanding of the phenomenon of fear can be useful in determining TIM of the psyche.
- An interesting possibility of practical use of socionic approach to the phenomenon of fear, for example, through consulting work.

The purpose of this article is to demonstrate a possible theoretical approach to the phenomenon of fear in terms of system socionics, as well as to present practical materials that could be of interest for the analysis of the research subject. In conclusion, the authors offer a method of using a list of fears to form a psyche TIM working hypothesis during the diagnostic interview.

Theoretical background

One of the psychology points of view is considering fear as a mechanism of protection. The emotional pain (fear), is a protective mechanism of the psyche, as well as physical pain is a protective mechanism of the physical body. Theme of fears is thoroughly and comprehensively covered in esoteric doctrines. It is believed that all the fears are different kinds of one deep-seated fear - fear of death. Fear is a common human emotion (in this case, we mean not E information element (“emotive ethics”), but signals of the psyche used to control the activity of organism). In this paper, we consider the phenomenon of fear from socionical point of view.

During TIM identifications, the experts had seen repeating mentioning of fears of low-dimensional functions. In accordance with the system model of the psyche structure, low-dimensional functions are located in control units, making "my task/not my task" decision, "I am able/not able to” [3, p. 50-53]. If the task was accepted for execution, control is transferred to the high-dimensional unit. In this article, the authors proceed from the idea that person is controlled (impelled to move in any direction, take any action) by two principles: pain and pleasure. Individual avoids pain and is attracted by pleasure. This global mechanism is reflected in the Model A at the level of low-dimensional control blocks: super-id – the pleasure (f.5 – suggestion, “individual experience”), super-ego - the pain (f.4 – point of least resistance, “social experience”). We assume that the mechanism of fear is associated with the energy of the system (mind, body). Less effective ways of processing information are more energy-intensive. Fear is the mechanism of the psyche for withdrawal from energy-intensive areas. Normally, organism has a tendency to avoid the recurrence of pain and having the experience of psychic pain, forms a zone of fear to refer to the area of avoidance.

Experimental Materials

While working on the definition of TIM of the psyche at SSS website (http://socionicasys.org/) were accumulated working materials, allowing to observe presence of fears in one-dimensional functions (f. 4 and 5). SSS Working Group decided to investigate this matter in detail. The study was conducted on respondents with known and verified TIM, who knew model A, investigated their own TIM and observed own reactions with socionic point of view (introspections of expert socionists). Attended by 27 people. Respondents were asked to describe their fears in one-dimensional functions. Proposed concept of fear was “uneasy feeling of expectation that you might get into this kind of situation”. Not simply unpleasant, but dreary-viscous-oppressive state. Fear is a psychical pain.

In this research, we examined one-dimensional functions, because there shows up most clearly (noticeably) manifested fears, though not denying possibility of fears in other low-dimensional functions.

Description of observations

Here are observations obtained during the research, in the form of working notes.


Fears occur not only in the fourth function, but in the fifth function too

Based on the theoretical premises, largest amount of fear could be expected in the fourth function. That is clearly reflected in one of the names of the fourth function, as "painful”. Painfulness causes fear, fear causes painfulness. Contrary to expectations of the greatest number of fears coming from the most "painful" in the model - f. 4, as a result of the survey we received no less manifestations of fears from f.5.

The question arises, what can be so frightening in such a psychologically "attractive" block as super-id? We assume that it is fear of loss of individually significant pleasure (value), endeavor to keep the desired situation.

Sometimes respondents described the fear of the fourth and fifth functions together - “two in one”. It can be assumed that the cases of getting into the aspect situation affecting both one-dimensional functions are a strong blow to the psyche and stored as scary. There were descriptions of situations affecting two functions of a macro information element (for example, R - "relational ethics" and E - "emotive ethics"). Often description of fear sounds from entire low-dimensional block (super-ego or super-id).


LII: “I thought about a fifth function. It is, rather, fear not for myself - that you do something wrong, but fears adding fuel to the fire of the fourth, using the E. That is: I said for a reason that aggressive crowd is scarier than individual. One person - there is a slim chance that it will be possible to reason (in L, apparently). When people became a crowd then arguments of reason are inaudible, herd instinct runs the show. And this is rather energy, in addition angry and aggressive, they want to splash out. A state of affect. I think this is a minus for E-function, wanted to be avoided, and which increase anxiety, and fear.”

SEI: "Yes, the fear of mistake in the P-function (“practical logic”, work) definitely is! But again, is in conjunction with the I-function (“potentiality intuition”, possibilities) or L-function - all will see how complete fool I am".

LSE: "But when" doing nothing " I start yearning because of idle pastime (eg, on a visit). There is a fear of being late, I hate when someone is late. I do not like surprises. I hate it when something happens, and I still do not know how it ended and someone starts to tell everything in smallest step-by-step detail, how all this happened. Hey, first epilogue that I already knew what it was all over, and then normally could listen how it was, because I may not survive till the end of the story in that tension. So I always force people to tell me from the end". (T and E block).

Sometimes the fear on the fifth function is subjectively perceived to be stronger than the fear for the fourth function.

SLI: "By E-function somehow do not recall explicit fears. Compared with the I- function it is definitely more confident. Or maybe I just do not understand that there is a fear of E- function, maybe I have some, but I just do not know it is called so".

Some of the respondents clearly experience fear in the fifth function, while others seems not having any. What does it depend on? Life experience? Conditions under which the fifth function developed? Number of negative experience obtained?


Renaming, denial and rejection, exclusion (forgetting), masking by the aspect of the high-dimensional function

Mind has an ability to forget the frightening situations. It is difficult to immediately remember the fear, if a person is not in similar situation at the moment or event has happened some time ago. Perhaps painful situations in suggestive function are expelled fast, because fears would have hinder the main task - suggestion. Although we do not rule out the displacement at f.4 (see example above). These observations require additional study with larger number of respondents.


LII: “And by E-function – I don't even know. Apparently, I have it so one-dimensional and unconscious, that memory stores nothing about inadequate expression of emotions. Maybe something did happen sometime, but I can not remember now. Or people out of politeness did not point me to it so it would have been remembered.”

LSE: “I remember that sometimes I say that the fifth (function) is struck no less than fourth. I do remember judging this function like that, but now everything seems vanished. Memory seems to quickly erase this negative.”

Since the nature of fear is aimed at excluding or avoiding undesirable situations, it is sometimes difficult to identify the true information element of fear under the mask. There is a desire to formulate fear (rejection) using other words.


SEI: "But at the fifth is not fear, but rather a reluctance to be assessed at all, the rejection of any assessments - neither bad nor good. No need to assess me! Maybe that's the fear is? "

EII: "You know, it works not like fear, but like a perplexity. If you want to do something completely unfamiliar without clear instructions to act, it is unclear what to start with. You don't see possible negative effects, and when confronted with them, it is not the most pleasant thing.

LIE: "... Not exactly fears, but doubts ... Postfactum it is expelled, as if there was nothing like that, especially when the experience is small in a particular manifestation.

A characteristic phenomenon is the non-recognition of fear. Often during TIM identification, we have seen the interviewee's desire to “cover up” their low-dimensional functions by demonstration of fearlessness. One shows overconfidence in information element. Experienced expert always tell a calm confidence of a high-dimensional function of assertive, unapologetic, tense overconfidence of low-dimensional functions. It is protective mechanism of the psyche. Often, person is not aware of this protection. He is so blind that even failing to handle the situation states the opposite. And to crack that armor can be impossible (and unnecessary), until the man himself became willing to deal with his fears.

An idea that other people must have the same fears is observed. This idea derives from the peculiarities of information processing by one-dimensional function. Man relies only on its own experience, individual perception, can not look at the situation “through different eyes”, has no idea how to respond differently.

LII: "By the fourth - the fear to face the unwarranted aggression. Suddenly. From one person – it's trifle. Crowd – that is terrible. Football fans or Nazi are still somehow tracked by the authorities, but here's teenage street crime, when they ten or more people: drunk or stoned. This is another world, they are in another dimension... But I think that anyone would be scared, not only one with F as painful function.

There are cases when the true fear, which resides in low-dimensional functions is "masked" by the fear of a high-dimensional function. “Flip of the switch” occurs. Fear is voiced with a substitution of concepts.

Thus, initially declared fear (of a second quadra sensing TIM) "I'm a bad mother and daughter, ie I unsatisfactorily perform my "duties" inherent in the social role" as a result of the identification of the causes has passed the following transformation:

"I had a situation where a child psychologist told me that I am a bad mother. This was unexpected, because I came "through connections" and not for advice but for certificate for the school. The situation is somewhat clouded in memory, but I well remember my feelings after her surprise accusatory words, like, how dare you and so on. I left mentally confused, and at home cried loudly and beat the punching bag. Yet, I kind of did not nothing horrible. In her opinion, I must and was obliged to tell the son about adoption, biological daddy, a former family and so on.

"I think I got it. My parents have two children. My elder brother is not native to my father. And it was told to me as terrible and shameful fact. My brother was really worried when accidentally found out about it. In addition, his and father's relations at that time have deteriorated sharply. And mama talked bunkum about mandatory communication with his own father. And more. I was just offended to distraction that my ex-husband was never interested in his son, even out of politeness. As if he were a leper".

Thus, the initial pain of the relational ethics (not interested in his own son) evolved into a fear (I am a bad mother and daughter), but was voiced through a block of F and L (unsatisfactory perform the duties inherent in the social role).

An interesting topic for research may become a theme of fear in the dream.
Perhaps such studies will help identify low-dimensional functions.


ESI: "There are even a number of typical dreams. The overall plot - suddenly remembered that something must be done, but there is no time:

* Tomorrow is an exam, I'm not ready and just remembered about the exam;

* Need to buy train tickets, and ticket office is about to be closed;

* Traveling somewhere by train and came to the wrong destination.

* Felt that the danger can crept up the front, secure, and then suddenly it emerged from behind. And not the stress that it came from behind, but the fact it arose because I did not, say, lock the second door.

In dreams, fear is usually I (did not take into account) + T (no time).

LSE: "I always running late to somewhere in a dream. Eternal nightmare ".


Repeatability of negative experiences

In the literature there is a description of the effect of "attracting" a negative situation. If you are afraid, you attract similar situation again and again. Example of socionic observations:

"Watched the other day fear of EIE ("Hamlet") at sensing. A neighbor (EIE) had a toothache. He suffered with it for a week, but did not go to the doctor. He ate a bunch of analgesics. The tooth began to ache under the crown, which was "worn out". I spoke with him, advised to go to the dental office next to our house. Told approximately what prices do they charge, gave feedback. He swaggered, said the case is not about money, but he would not ask how much treatment will cost, said, it's humiliating. (low-dimensionality of F, ashamed to ask the price, because they'll think you're poor). And then he demonstrates super-id F - says, for him the price is not a problem. So, he is afraid of pain. But he does not admit it. He can not convincingly explain by himself, why he does not go to the doctor.

As a result, when a toothache calm down a week later, he goes ... where do you think? ... Community Health Center for free treatment. There he gets a tooth drilled without anesthesia directly through the crown and the nerve removed. They said it should no longer hurts. And what he got as a result? Terrible pain, which he was afraid of. The situation is simply absurd, there is no logic in the actions (not to mention the words). But now the fear of pain and the dentist entrenched even more. And the next time the situation will repeat again. After all, he had the opportunity to avoid the pain and suffering. But he as deliberately chooses the path that leads to what he fears. Now the carousel will start its new turn".

Peculiarity of reactions of the one-dimensional function explains such carousel in the events frequency. One-dimensional function can not come off the "single-track" repetition of the experience, it sees no other way to respond, even if it is assisted on all hands, to push the other way. Repeatability is an energy-intensive way of responding for the psyche. It is blocked by fear - fear of falling into a similar situation again.

The lack of standards, lack of confidence, inability to assess the "right / wrong" create fertile ground for consolidation of fear in the one-dimensional functions and to "attract" such a situation again.


LSE: "If I have the slightest suspicion that that's ridiculous (in relationships), I simply do not even try, this option will be discarded immediately. I may “lay low” and did not take any actions at all".

LSE: "By the fifth function nothing is assessed in advance. Just a reaction. So in advance we can not know what result will be. We can not say that now I will behave ridiculous. But experience has shown that often in new situations we still stuck. And it is remembered. And so the expectation of new situations is sometimes uncomfortable because of already received negative experience and fear of its repetition: what if again tI say something wrong, react in a wrong way... That's all I call the fear of absurdity. Well, maybe the word does not fit, can be replaced by any other. But in general, the essence is the same - we expect a possible awkwardness in the relationship".

Failure to follow the norms of society

From childhood, everyone (normally) receives a set of standards for all aspects of information: he was brought up, he watches how people around him react. But two one-dimensional functions, even memorized standards, in every new situation still have one-dimensional reaction - based on the individual inner feeling, sensation, experience. Naturally, the social environment is often not satisfied by such reactions, and in response a person receives a condemnation or punishment, which leads to the growth of fear to get into a similar situation again.


SEI: "Only care about how the work is judged. Moreover, work for others. If I'm doing something for myself, the judgements are not afraid and not important. "

LSE: "I'm afraid to offend, afraid to be misunderstood, afraid that I will do wrong in terms of norms."

SLI: "I have lots of fear at I-function, up to tremor - I think just because it was hurt frequently, a lot of negative experiences. Plus non-dualized mother ESI with the constant “what if” fear, scared of any surprise – it was terribly depressing."

"EII:-Yes, by the way, for me, one of the hardest lessons of P (in sewing for example) is to fix what's done ugly or wrong. This is usually done several times and, eventually, even if the thing is finished, after such a misery I will not start to do other thing, do not want at all.

LSE: - And I know why. Because the function is based on experience. Correction requires not to use past experiences but do things differently. On the one hand person do not know how it is different, and if he knew, he was told, it often turns out as before by itself. And the remake becomes a nightmare of incorrect repetitions of the experience. And creating a new experience becomes increasingly difficult.

By the way, there is a technique that allows you to create a new experience on the mental level, that is, mentally go through the same situation, but to act differently. And there may happen similar "shifting" to scroll the frame of the old experience, and not to overwrite by new".


Psychologists say that "90% of all children's fears are generated and steadfastly maintained by the family." [5] The theory of age development and filling of model A [4] shows that the low-dimensional super-id block is filled in childhood and the influence of nearest environment has a profound influence on the psyche, including the occurrence of distortions and fears.

Psychologist's advice: “The main thing for parents to do in such cases is to eliminate the main raising causes of overall anxiety of the child. To do this, look closely at the child, at yourself, at the entire family situation as a whole. Parents should search for these fears in themselves and deal with them. Worked out fears in yourself drop off the children automatically.” [5]

Socionist's advice: “For parents and teachers would be worth to learn socionics at least in order to see in practice, these amazing, unusual for our “common sense” phenomena of childhood and adolescence ... Taking into consideration the functional and aspectual structure of the age development of the psyche, in our view, is extremely important in the educational and pedagogical work .... ”. [4]

What to do with fears?

This issue is always relevant. The study of this subject tells that the theme of dealing with fears is best explored in the eastern doctrines. It requires further research through the prism of socionics.

Initially, one should understand and accept the existence of a mechanism of fear. Based on the knowledge of own TIM model, understand the cause of an individual fears. Second - give up the struggle with fears and self defense mechanism. Third, learn to work with fear consciously.

For the present we have few examples of working out of fear. We offer these observations:

Facing the fear

EII: "You look at the fear, until it is amplified, look, not giving it any importance, without evaluation. At some point, fear becomes a feeling of a certain energy and disappears as such. "

Example of creating a new experience and removing fear

EII: "By the way, I had once that fear of looking like a fool. I was very afraid to ask questions, because I could not determine what is generally known and what is not. That is, I just did not want to look as a fool in the other's eyes. But then found a solution using I-function (pretty normative, I admit) that knowing everything is impossible. And instead of being afraid just started to ask. I have not had any bad experience, when people just started to despise me for not knowing something. So now I can ask any the most stupid question concerning P without any fear. I earned positive experience".

Working through the fifth function P (“practical logic”, work) (transfer to mental function)

EII: "By the way, I noticed how the vital quality of P-function works. If I were not doing something when I'm asked, then later on I just forget about that matter. So I have very positive attitude to being reminded about some cases, I keep emails in the inbox until I do what is needed. They also work as a reminder. When I go on a smoke break, I constantly scroll in my head what I should do next, what I must not forget, I make a plan for minor cases: that first, then that one, and next this one."

The use of Gestalt therapy for "laying the new track"

ILE: "Yesterday, after a Gestalt therapy session some understanding loomed... We walked up to the fact that I need, that I almost ought to always assert, and I assert myself with +F-R, as you understand. It seems, then at some point the feeling appeared that is not necessarily constantly prove myself. That there is a choice - you can assert yourself, not have to do it. And when there is a choice - there is freedom. I.e. you don't have to assert, straining hard while feeling fear, and be "relaxed, calm, ready to adequate perception of people." And this understanding makes me feel so well!

I've been so powerfully pushed up the R-function, as if I got an instrument with which I can measure own and others' actions, and all upcoming situation scan with this instrument, organize, carefully store for the future. That is, I kind of throwing all forces at this front. And it suits me. Here, I wrote about the tool, and thought, what that actual tool is? The tool is in the area of responsibility for your actions. I have right now almost extinct “I had no choice", "I was forced","could not say "No"” etc. Well, I stopped accept such excuses, too. So I felt better, but does it became more comfortable with me? It depends, I think. And it is a natural process where people converge, diverge, I'm fine with that".


List of fears

As a result of this work was a list of fears on all information elements, which is proposed to use for making TIM hypotheses at identification process. The SSS experts started using the gathered material in the practice of determining TIM of the psyche. Subject is invited to view the list, in which fears are collected haphazardly and without reference to the information element. It is noted that interviewees tend to recognize "their" fears. The results depend on the ability of person to be honest with himself and on the accumulated experience of reflection. Fears, if marked by subject only on certain information elements (one or two) may indicate to expert probably one-dimensional functions. It is recommended to take into account the nature of the manifestation of fear, described in the observations.

However, it must be remembered that the mechanism of pain and pleasure is universal and works on different levels. You can meet the fear of not realize their potential (fear of "Me"), the common to all mankind fear of death, the ancestral unconscious fears, which often come from the block ID.


- Fear of being rejected, ignored, not taken in a group, boycotted - the fear to face contempt, harassment (humiliation)
- Betrayal of a close person (can also be exposed to I-function),
- Fear of conflict,
- Fear of showing awkwardness in relationships.


- Fear of being captured by strong emotions,
- Fear of getting into a situation where you will face strong negative emotions or inappropriate positive, while being not able to leave,
- Fear of violent emotions,
- Fear of negative emotions.


- Confusion, uncertainty and "hang up" when you have something to do using L-function, but it fails,
- Uncertainty: do I have the right, what rights do I have at all, what the rules are, how these rules interpret this situation?
- Fear of status, whether you have the right,
- Fear of mental assessment
- Fear of the uncertain situation in the system, the place in society.
- fear of the dispute, inability to reason.
- fear of appearing illogical


- Fear of incompetence,
- Fear of undertaking new business,
- Helplessness in face of multiple tasks, of impossibility to decide what to do,
- Fear of responsibility to others for work
- Fear that something is not taken into account, not completed,
- Fear of looking unprofessional, not cope with the business situation,
- Fear of evaluation as a specialist


- Fear of non-occurrence of events
- Fear of unpredictability,
- Fear of passing time,
- Fear of predestination, inability to control events,
- Fear of unpleasant "surprises" (events)
- Fear of the prediction ( "not croak"),
- Fear that the expected and desired will not happen.
- «I count to three: one…»


- Fear of deception, uncertainty,
- Fear to be misunderstood,
- Fear of “hopeless worthlessness”, lack of ability to do anything, achieve something, insolvency,
- Fear of assessment ( "I do not need to be assessed").
- Fear of own unpredictability


- Fear of disease (unpleasant sensations)
- Fear of judgement of appearance,
- Fear of old age because of concomitant senility, ugly appearance, atrophy of senses.
- fear of embarrassing, unpleasant situations associated with the biological aspects: smells, stains, touch, views, etc., causing the state of embarrassment, shame,
- fear of changes on the body.


- Inability to stand up for themselves
- Fear of unwarranted aggression, particularly from the group,
- Violence
- Fear of material loss,
- Fear of material failure,
- Helplessness in defending and protecting their interests,
- Fear that I would have to fight and who knows how it will end, including the fear of not calculate its strength and hurt a person,
- Fear to confess not only to others but to themselves (or thinking about it) that is already ill and need to take action.

Further research on this topic can be added to the list.


  1. Brief psychological dictionary http://shp.by.ru/psy/lit/psy_enc/txt/s108.shtm
  2. Small Collegiate Dictionary of Russian language http://feb-web.ru/feb/mas/mas-abc/03/ma117218.htm
  3. Yermak V.D. How to learn to understand the people. Moscow: Astrel, 2003, pp. 50-53. (in Russian)
  4. Yermak V.D. Age development and informational filling of psyche: formation of human individuality and personality / SMiPL, ISI, 2004, № 4. (in Russian)
  5. Pozdnyakov V.A. Phobias. All about fear and anxieties. (in Russian) http://heatpsy.narod.ru/05/alarm.html