School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

Published: Socionics, Mentology, and Personality Psychology, 2008, № 1

On Possibility of Falsification of TIM in Verbal Typing

Keywords: Socionics, TIM models, communicative models, “masks”, TIM identification, typing.


The paper presents results of an experiment conducted by a group of socionists, who work at the internet site of the School of System Socionics (http//www.socionicasys.org),  who have set a task of checking the possibility of falsification by interviewees of their IM functions’ dimensionality and hence deceiving  typing experts in the course of a verbal TIM identification. 

The need to investigate the possibility of falsification by an interviewee of  his/her TIM and the need for an identification expert to be able to detect such a falsification exists because of vide spread phenomenon of communicative models (“masks”) which people are inevitably forced to use  in conditions of contemporary social reality. [1]

By falsification we understand the following:

  1. Intentional misleading of the typing experts by an interviewee in regard to his TIM (intentional creation of a communicative model or “mask” corresponding to another TIM.
  2. Unintentional actions of an interviewee aimed at presenting information which corresponds to a communicative model (“mask”) produced by interviewee’s attempt to correspond to some social approved pattern or correspond to some “good” TIM (according to the interviewee’s own opinion).

This experiment was prompted by the current situation with socionics Internet forums. The number of such forums is growing.  Many forums are used for TIM identification. However the level of experts leaves to desire. Many experts are self-teach amateurs who did their studies on the same forums. As a consequence, many people wander from forum to forum, get identified as different TIMs, “try on” these TIMs. Consequently many of those who wishes to undergo a TIM identification at our Internet site (http//www.socionicasys.org) are people who have already got their TIM “identified” (and sometimes just imposed!). They have some notion about TIMs (mostly based on descriptive features) and they often wear a “mask” of a certain TIM. This influences their interview’s responses and most probably creates additional difficulties for experts, and we have set out to investigate it.

Reasons for unintentional TIM falsification could be a desire to provide better conditions for communication, to present oneself in a better light or an involuntary move to "cover up" one's “weak” IM functions. Even if a person has never been typed before, he/she has general human tendency to keep some of his/her mind private. Thus arises the problem of distinguishing between the communicative model (“mask”) and the true TIM. This problem has especial acuteness in the following two cases:

  1. The interviewee’s information metabolism functions  have ample acquired experience (he/she has wide erudition, has read a lot, and has rich experience of verbal communication).
  2. The person for some reason considers some TIM to be "his” or  “her" TIM and deliberately or unknowingly manipulates the low dimensional functions of his/her true TIM so that they appear as high dimensional ones.

Interviewee responses in such cases can mislead the experts because the interviewee talks a lot and “with confidence”  when using his low dimensional functions and often can be over-confident  in respect to his low dimensional functions. [2,3]

The theoretical premises of this experiment were as follows: a person's TIM is stable and does not change throughout the course of one's life, thus the dimensionality of functions does not change with acquired experience or age. Consequently, determining dimension of an information function could serve as a key for distinguishing between cases of good acquired experience and high dimensionality of  the function.

How could possibly be designed an experiment aimed to investigate influence of falsification on the outcome of identification? We saw two possibilities:

1.      It can be assumed that intentional falsification could be performed  the best by those who are well familiar with the functioning of the A-Model (including the dimension theory) and who are aware of the TIM identification methods.  TIM identification experts with well verified TIMs could be used as intentional deceivers with a task to make appear their low dimensional functions as high dimensional ones.

2.      An interviewee could be provoked for an unintentional falsification. Taking into consideration that the real goal of the experiment is unknown to the participants, the task could  be set in order to make participants talk on behalf of  another TIM (communicative model). This presumes that the TIMs of the participants should be identified  and verified beforehand by experienced experts and in accordance with the System Socionics paradigm.

Part 1

Experiment on intentional falsification of TIMs


The experiment had the following set up.

Participants in this experiment were persons who

  •         know the A-model  well (the System Sosionics paradigm)
  •         are well experienced in  TIM identification
  •         are well-versed with the  TIM that they need to falsify
  •         their true TIMs have been identified  and verified through prior extensive communication.

Essentially they have "all cards" on hands  to be able to deceive the experts.

Among the fake interviewees 4 belonged to the PS TIM, 5 belonged to the RI TIM.

They were given 1 question each with information element semantics respectively  of  their  functions 1 and 5 (i.e. P and R).

The questions:

P : What tools/instruments do you use in your daily life? What makes for a convenient tool/instrument? How do you select a tool for specific task, give examples? How would you rate your ability to pick the right tool? How others rate your ability in this?

R : What are the ways of establishing relationships? Which of these is the most elegant? Which you prefer to follow, and why? What constitutes mastery in relationships?

The tasks given to respondents:

  • Answer as fully as possible to the question, to demonstrate yourself a "real expert" in this domain.
  • In your response regarding the function 5 try to demonstrate the "mask" of your dual.
  • Track your reactions, thoughts, states, which were caused by the procedure itself, and the question of the experiment.

We evaluated how well the respondents could emulate multi-dimensional response using his low-dimensional (5th) function. Responses from multidimensional (1st) function were used as a reference.

Result: None of the participants has managed to answer a question related to their 1-dimensional function and go beyond the dimension of Ex, i.e. the answer still sounded "one-dimensional".

Observations of responses to questions concerning the P element


1.      When answering to the P element question, they sought to reply using L (and possibly I), i.e. trying to engage the mental track superblock.
2.      In responses requiring P, they recollected their "experience."
3.      In their responses regarding P there were present indicators of vital track quality, as well as some of the individual ("original") ideas regarding this element.
4.      They tried to be convincing  by demonstrating large knowledge; however they didn’t succeed in showing the  St parameter in their thinking.
5.      They could  show their knowledge of the "norms".
6.      Self-assessment related to this element showed low dimensionality of this function. Respondents  either attempted to leave it out, or admitted that it is hard to rate their performance related to the low-dimensional function.


1.      They are confident in self-assessment, but do not emphasize it, calmly accept mistakes related to this element.
2.      Concretize their answers, demonstrating the plus sign of P.
3.      The Tm parameter was clearly visible: their answers were given in relation to Tm and St, showing awareness of the processes’ duration.
4.      There were present indicators of mentality.
5.      No transfer of thinking to other functions.

Observations of responses to questions concerning the R element


1.      The dimension of the parametric time manifested itself in regarding the development of relationships  as a multi stage process.
2.      The "plus" sign of R was clearly demonstrated: RIs were taking in consideration mostly positive relations.
3.      R is the function that sets values: RIs did not think in terms of manipulating with relationships.
4.      The block of R and I has clearly manifested itself.
5.      There were generalizations, statements of global nature, when RI participants made comments concerning people (possible manifestation of the minus sign).
6.      Sometimes there were oppositions of R and I.


1.      Attempts to imitate the  RI TIM, for the most part, failed.
2.      PS participants interpreted "making relationships" as "becoming acquainted".
3.      Indicators of vital track nature of the function and low-dimensional traits were present.
4.      Responses distinctly sounded one-dimensional.
5.      Responses showed the “minus” R.  

This is how indicators of individual one-dimensional vital track function have manifested themselves in the responses:

... for me this is more convenient...
... I am satisfied with ...
... one simply needs to get used to...
... it's somehow more familiar/habitual...
... I am most vexed with my habit to buy a thing, regardless of the defects, out of fear that I won’t be able to find anything better and eventually will have to return to this shop again.
... I feel confused...
... it is difficult to make a choice...
... I get very angry in such situations...
... I wish somebody made the choice for me...
... often it just happens ...

Examples of difficulties when answering using one-dimensional functions:

RI: "When I was responding to the question about P it became apparent to me that I simply did not know where to start. The feeling was as if that there was a lump of information in my head, and I didn’t not know how to structure it, what to begin with, what important points must not be missed, what precisely should be included."

PS: "Frankly speaking,  this text made me sweat. Hawing written two starting sentences, I suddenly fell into a stupor, because the phrase "establish relationships" did not translate into any images, words or ideas. Then I went to drink coffee and think about how to get through it. The biggest problem when writing using your low-dimensional function is to find even a slight idea what to write. You struggle to find a thought that you could somehow develop. The subject seems to be something you know and understand, but it's something that is very difficult to put into words. One is grasping for words. In the end I realized that I could not squeeze out of myself anything at all."

Conclusions from all responses:

  • Attempts to imitate extra dimensions in the responses related to the one-dimensional information function did not succeed.
  • Respondents could not falsify the signs of functions;
  • Even after having been living with duals, having constantly communicated with them, knowing their values, knowing the signs and indicators of multidimensionality, the participants have not been able to translate this knowledge in their "own" language.

Part 2

Experiment on unintentional falsification of TIMs


We investigated possibility to falsify dimensions of information functions  (hence, the possibility to falsify TIM) and convergence of the TIM identification experts. To this effect, served a question composed in semantics of the I element and which was not used in identification practice before (not familiar to the participants):

The question:

What is probability? What place in your life does it have? Which common, obvious probabilities  do you know of? Which ones are not obvious to you? Give examples. Assess your ability to see the probabilities and compare it with the abilities of others. What is "obvious-improbable"? Give examples.

The respondents (18 people in total) which TIMs have been previously identified by the experts of the System School of Socionics and verified in the course of more or less lengthy period of communication on the internet forum:  

The TIM distribution has been as follows:


The experts were in the number of 4 with the following TIMs:


The experiment was conducted in the following manner.

1.      The names and gender on verbs were concealed from the experts.
2.      Experts did not know who takes part in the experiment. [since they are all from the same socionics school they all know each other and each other's types]
3.      Experts made their analysis independently of each other.
4.      Any cases where an expert was able to guess the identity of the respondent through content of what was written were discarded.

The tasks set for the experts:

  • determine the dimension of respondent’s  function processing the I element;
  • mark other indicators: sign, vital/mental track;
  • possibly advance a hypothesis regarding the TIM of the respondent.

Tasks assigned to the respondents:

  • to answer as fully as possible to the question, to prove oneself a "real expert" in the field;
  • no cheating! .. (It was assumed that a respondent is not going to lie intentionally - in the worst case, he/she may unconsciously hide some information.)

The results of the experiment demonstrated correspondence of analysis results  to previously determined TIMs on the following parameters:

Dimensionality of functions              81%

Vital/mental elements                      78.5%

Sign of functions                               87.5%

Block                                                 80%


Average convergence                        81.5%

Thus, the error in determining the dimensions of the functions, provided that the experts were working independently, was 19%. In case of working together - 11% (2 person out of 18). Convergence of experts on estimation of high/low dimensionality of a function was 82%

The obtained experimental results (19% error in determining the dimensionality of functions) reflect not only effect of possible falsification, In the authors’ opinion, it deems very difficult to conduct  a "pure" experiment on falsification of information functions’ dimensions.

However, the results of the experiment convincingly demonstrate  that a tool such as dimensionality of the functions is sufficiently precise to obtain good convergence of the experts and can be used to detect communicative models ("masks") of the TIM. Additional findings answer the question of whether it is possible to correctly pick up on the dimension of the function of another person if one's own relative function is low dimensional. In our case, it turned out that one can do it! Expert #2 with low-dimensional intuition showed results no worse than his peers.

We are fully aware of the fact that the number of respondents who participated in the experiment is very small for statistically valid conclusions, and assume that these experiments will continue.


  1. Yermak V.D. How to learn to understand people. Moscow: Astrel, 2003.
  2. Bukalov A.V.  Structure and dimensions of IM functions. SMiPL, ISI,1995, № 2.
  3. Eglit I.M. Dimensions of a function. SMiPL, ISI, 2007, № 2.