School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

Published: Socionics, Mentology, and Personality Psychology, 2011, № 6

Control emotions and the model of TIM

Abstract:  The paper is putting forward a hypothesis that from the viewpoint of the System Socionics the control mechanism of biological systems is realized through emotional states. It is proposed to call such emotions “control emotions”.

  Keywords: Control emotions, model A, goal setting, control theory.

In order to introduce you into the subject of this article I suggest you to remember a recent vivid episode when you were experiencing an emotion of  anger, resentment, dismay, interest, desire, aggression, revulsion, attraction, envy (jealousy), fear or panic.

If we pay enough attention to our lives we’ll notice that such emotions are not so much rare – we experience them many times a day in most ordinary circumstances. What is more important, and what probably skip out attention, is that our whole lives are effectively guided and, we can even say, determined by such emotions. We are following directions that attract us and avoiding those that we don’t like. Those are the two poles: attraction and rejection  which from the standpoint of the System Socionics, are sufficient to effectuate control over a goal-oriented activity.

Socionics as a science that studies information interaction of psyche with the world is modeling such a goal-oriented activity with help of the model A, using it as a substitute of the psyche.  As has been shown by V.D.Ermak [1], model A can be regarded within the paradigm of control theory. From this point of view, psyche must have at least two “buttons” – attraction and rejection, which would be guiding it in its operation, i.e. would effectuate target locking for the benefit of the carrier of the psyche.

In this context we shall understand control as influence of the outside world (super system), which is realized through mechanism of attraction/rejection and serves for direction of a psyche carrier for reaching a certain goal.

Such control is present in the model A at different levels. If we are considering blocks, then the two control buttons (attraction and rejection) are realized through super-Id and super-Ego respectively. Indeed, operation of super-Id is often described by the formula:  “I want it”, due to the characteristic reactions towards desirable (attractive) information. Whereas super-Ego is processing information which is perceived as unpleasant  (though probably useful)  and its operation is characterized by the “I must” formula.

At the level of functions, control over model A is effectuated through functions four (pain function)  and five (suggestive function). The function four sometimes is called “point of least resistance” (PLR) and its reactions consist in avoiding unpleasant (painful) information related to the respective information element. To the contrary, function five is unconsciously “seeking for” information (related to the information element it is processing), which looks interesting and attractive.

Examining these functions in terms of dimensionality one can see that the control nature of the functions is enabled exactly by their one-dimensionality i.e. by the fact that they process information only with reference to the “experience” dimension, which favors for highly polarized operation of the type: “mine/not mine”, “good/bad”, “accept/reject”, “like/dislike”.

In practice one could experience the control by doing the self-observation exercise described in the beginning of this paper.  By setting a task to monitor the enumerated emotions during a day and by tracing connections of such emotions to our actions we’ll see that at any moment when an emotion arises we tend to make a certain choice.  In other words, emotions suggest a corridor within which we can move. When doing such quite simple observation we can get a feeling of the operation of  TIM model’s control emotions , so to speak, “from inside”. According to my observations a big deal of the control occurrences has emotional nature. Sometimes these emotions are quite obvious and we feel them so acutely that we desire to get rid of them as quick as we can, but sometimes they take form of momentary preferences that guide our lives like underwater currents.

Hypothesis:  Control effect produced by information processing functions is subjectively perceived as emotions causing attraction-rejection, which we propose to call control emotions.

Staying with the hypothesis of  “emotionality” of control, some interpretations of the model A could be explained. One of them consist in model A being called “energo-informational” model, thus putting energy and information on the same plane and making them “equal in rights”.   From my viewpoint, energy serves only as an inner mechanism of control transfer in the information-centered model of psyche.

Another reading of  model A, connected with the energy-related nature of psyche control mechanisms, consist in confounding manifestations of control emotions and emotions resulting from regular information processing of the ethics information elements (E and R). For example, when a person says: “I don’t like it” it could be interpreted as an output of the function which processes the R element. On the other hand, depending on the context, this sentence could be interpreted as a pointer to a control process, i.e. desire to avoid enacting the super-Ego functions.

I.M. Eglit has  suggested to single out emotional reactions of functions  and distinguish them from the payload information of the function which processes the E element. [3] The emotional reactions are actually control emotions because, in the final run, they provide indications about  person being directed. Hence there is a need to pay attention and differentiate between the two cases.

Let’s look at some examples.

Information related to the E element (ethics of emotions):

Person’s feelings are very important and you cannot simply ignore person’s emotions excusing it with some material gains and substituting true values with false ones. Especially this regards feelings of s child, especially tears (if the tears are genuine one can imagine what is going on in the child’s soul) – they are very pure feelings without garbage or falsity…

People who know me call me a merry one and an optimist. I don’t like pessimism. In the evenings my mood is usually somewhat down and during the day when I am in public it is rather uplifted. Sometimes it happens to be sad, for example I am in the University, feeling sad, and suddenly see someone I know approaching and a smile spontaneously appears on my face, my mood gets better and if this is someone I know more closely, then my mood can jump even higher and will last long. It has ramped up in a minute and afterwards I feel great for an hour or so.


Monitoring control emotions in E function (highlighted):

First of all, conditions of your close environment matter really much. It is not so much my own mood but rather a little festivity around me. OK, let it be not even a festivity (that would be reaching too far) but at least calm neutral state. That inspires and gives strength to me.

And if there is someone near me who has a negative mood then it usually throws me off the track. For example, in our student accommodation, one of the typical situation for me is when my room-mate comes in a bad mood and is demonstrating it with all his looks how badly he feels (for example, he may sit with an utterly sulky air or can demonstratively slam the door or throw the dishes). Well, in two words, he is having some troubles with his work. Usually this is enough for me: I feel completely knocked down and even if I have had a good mood before it virtually evaporates in a moment.

Monitoring control emotions in L:

At my work or during an abstract dispute, as well as when arguing with my superiors I am ready to defend my views until exhaustion. Because even if I loose it is not going to be painful but stimulating. Especially if I’m convinced that I am right.

Monitoring control emotions in R:

When I feel compassion to someone I join his feelings, I feel them myself. It is very hard for me to stay with heavy feelings, I try to leave them. It’s just hard for me to stand it.

Monitoring control emotions in P:

Sometimes I have problems with determining quality of a thing I buy: I am very attentive to it, always try to analyze everything and in most cases after the purchase I find  something I have overlooked and get disappointed.

Generally speaking, I like technically perfect and beautiful sophisticated devices. I am fascinated by pocket computers, cell phones with plenty of features, probably because they are business attributes.

As we can see, a person is controlled through low-dimensional blocks by mechanism of energy states (control emotions) of pleasure and discontent.

When a person operates on the level of his ego block and thus interacts with low-dimensional functions of other persons, he influences these persons by the same control mechanism.

Let’s look at an example of using emotions  (from the ego block) for control purposes:

Falsehood is when your inner state does not match that which is being demonstrated. Moreover, these [demonstrated] emotions are used as a means of manipulation. At some point of growing up a child can notice how and which of his actions are influencing the others. For example, it in my early childhood I understood that I can I pout or start to cry or play offended or show scorn of some degree and that will make them take me outdoor or buy a toy car or something else.

According to our observations, control emotions can be found not only in low-dimensional blocks. Hi-dimensional blocks also demonstrate energy states of attraction/rejection. Most wide spread among them are interest and enthusiasm (both can also be found in the super-id block):

By what criteria can I judge whether I can cope with a job? I the first turn it is my experience. If I did something alike before, I can make an estimate if I will cope with this job. Secondly, it is my interest. There are cases when it is simply interesting to do this or that job even if I haven’t done anything like that before. If a job is interesting, in 99,9% of cases I will do it.

Among the control emotions are self-importance, desire to become better, arrogance, pride and ambition as well as anger, aggression and discontent of failure to reach the top, to be the first.

I simply have  the mood and willingness, or better, the need  to do everything better than the others.  It is as if you are standing at beginning of a running track. Once you have come up to it you have to run at top of your speed. Even if you are not the best runner, you have to work it out 100%.  If you are not sure better not to start.

That’s why when it comes to a hierarchy ladder, it the same thing. You see up there the last step and you start to strive to get there. And as you move towards it climbing the ladder step by step, you get enormous satisfaction. Not because you have outrun someone (it has nothing to do with it) but because you have done it. It is a kind of competition with yourself.

It is worth mentioning that many indicators of functions’ dimensionality and sign, discovered in the School of System Socionics are actually based on detection of control emotions. It is namely control emotions that show us competence limits of a function. When we are approaching such a limit, arise states of lack of confidence, agitation, worry, thrill which could escalate up to fear, panic and terror.

For the moment we leave out the question if it is possible to bypass control of the super system. But it seems that a key to solving most our problems lies in dealing with our control emotions rather than through intensified training of the “weak” low-dimensional functions. Such an intensified training is being suggested by many socionists as a way out of personal psychological problems. However it seems more consistent to deal with the root – the emotional control of low-dimensional functions (#4 and #5) rather than train them hard in hope that weak functions will get so strong that they will stop be a nuisance. This will not happen exactly by virtue of the functional purpose of low-dimensional functions: their main purpose is to be the means of control of the psyche. Hence a correct approach for solving personal psychological problems should be working  with control instead of working with contents (of course this does not inhibit enlarging function’s area of competence).

What would happen if a person succeeds to obtain enough freedom from controlling effect of the control functions and blocks of the model A? We can assume that control will not  disappear completely (because from the viewpoint of the control theory that would mean the death of the system [1]) but it will supposedly pass on to a qualitatively different level. Will the individual “transcend” in this case his model A? We can suspect that control effect of the functions will change but the dimensionality of information processing will remain the same.

In the light of the above reasoning, the following questions need to be answered:

·                    Is control the purpose of all the emotions?

·                    Should any control have emotional (energy-related) nature?

These questions remain open to the author.

It is possible that the energy-related nature of control (i.e. dependency of goal-setting and goal-locking on the inner energy state of the system) is peculiar only to known biological systems. If so, then biological forms of life are bound to suffer by virtue of its energy-related nature of control.

Returning to Socionics, we can see direct practical application of the control emotions phenomena to problems of TIM identification [3].  Typers of the SSS have record of proven efficiency of observation of the control emotions for TIM identification. In fact, observation and analysis of the control emotions could be considered a most efficient tool for TIM identification, including self-identification.

List of literature:

1.                 Yermak V.D. Classical Socionics. // Moscow.: Cchernaya Belka publishers, 2009 (in Russian language).

2.                 Eglit I.M. Basics of Socionic Self-Observation // SMiPL, 2011, №1.

3.                 Eglit I.M., Piatnitski V.V. Investigation of Fears in One-Dimensional Functions // SMiPL, 2009, №4.