School of System Socionics

“Practice is the proof of the truth”

What is System Socionics?

Socionics - a young science that studies the information aspects of life, or, as some say, "information metabolism."

In order to get a clear understanding of what is information metabolism, lets examine what is information as such.

If we look at the material world, we can distinguish two forms of existence: inert and live. Live matter distinguishes from inert one, primarily in one thing: no matter what form life takes, it behaves purposefully. In contrast to a stationary stone, even the seemingly motionless moss that grows on the stone, is in constant development. It grows, it has the task of survival, solves the problems of adaptation to the environment.

So, generally speaking, we can say that all that lives has a task, a goal, a purpose. A purpose involves a mechanism to achieve it.

Psyche and Information

Lets take it as a hypothesis that there is a mechanism for "target aiming" of a living organism, which is called "psyche" The role of the psyche consists in coordinating the living organism with its environment so that the organism can achieve its goals. We will not dwell on what are the goals and who imposed them, for the moment it is important that the goals exist, otherwise there would be no existence in the form of life.

So, the mind coordinates the organism's activities with the environment. The measure of such coordination is called information. When there is no agreement, the organism cannot orient, and therefore can not achieve its goals. The better the informational life of the organism is, the more successful it can be.

This theory is easy to understand in terms of our everyday experience. So, every minute we receive volumes of information about the world. We understand at the household level the importance of being well informed. Information allows us to function in life, and the better we are informed, the greater are our chances of achieving our goals.

Socionics explores how the psyche handles and responds to information, i.e., by way of generalization it can be said that the subject of Socionics is - information interaction. On a most abstract level it is about communication between system elements - units engaged in purposeful activity.

The Key Tool of Socionics is Modeling

The most important tool to study information exchange in Socionics is modeling.

A model is an imaginary substitute of a real object, which schematically explains the ways in which this object functions. A model can be understood as a kind of simplified formula, which replace a real object. Why do we need it? We need it namely to simplify a complex object in order to highlight its most interesting properties and discard all that is irrelevant. In other words, the model allows us to overcome the problem of the real object's complexity.

In our case, the object of modeling is the psyche - the mechanism for information processing.

How is it possible to model such a complex thing as information processing by the psyche? To begin with, let's look at the information in more detail and point out its elements.

Division of Information in Elements

Through observation and analysis, researchers of socionics have come to a conclusion that all the available information can be decomposed into the following elements:

Macro information element

Information element

Information element description

Matter (objects)

Information about the properties of objects

Properties and methods of work with objects

Information about the relations between objects

Structure, scheme, classification of objects


Information about energy

Emotional states

Information about the relations between energy states

Likes and dislikes, empathy, relationships


Information related to the essence of space

Zones, borders, territory, influence, power, strength, force

Information about spatial relations

Forms, shapes, comfort, beauty, aesthetics


Information related to essence of time

Sense, essence, possibilities, opportunities,

Information about the time relations

Events, changes, sequences of events, the passing of time, history.

You can take my word for it or you can make sure by yourself that all the known phenomena (information about these phenomena) can be decomposed into the above elements.

The A-model of TIM

Socionics model of the psyche consists of 8 functions, each of which processes one of the eight elements of information. Thus, the model of the psyche completely covers all aspects of information, that is, any possible information.

Each function has a special role in helping the organism to achieve its goals. Some functions serve to guide or control.  Other functions are the "workhorses". Each of the functions can be compared to an information "processor" that handles a specific piece (or aspect) of information.

Depending on the purpose of a function, its functioning has its own specific features which can be described in terms of processing parameters.  A function may have the following parameters:

Group of parameters



Dimension of information processing

The dimension of "experience" (Ex)

Information is processed based only on the own understanding ("experience") of the function

The dimension of "norm" (Nr)

Information is processed with reference to something fixed, for example, to the conventional understanding (norms).

The dimension of "situation" (St)

The information is processed with reference to the situation

The dimension of "time" (Tm)

Information is processed with possibility to shift the view in time with reference to change in time.

Awareness of information processing

Vital track of processing

Information is processed automatically, using the previously acquired patterns, with respect to individual needs

Mental track of processing

Information is processed with awareness, new tasks are solved with reference to the social environment.

Range, quality and focus modifiers of processing

The "Plus" sign

Local, particular problem, limited area of competence, positive quality of information, close-range attitude.

The "Minus" sign

Both local and global area of ​​competence, can handle both positive and negative aspects, both short and long range attitudes are possible.

There are 16 models (types) of information processing - depending on which functions process respective information elements. The consequence of this is the informational "specialization" of the type. Other names for it are: socionic type of information processing or Type of Information Metabolism (TIM). Hereafter we will be using the acronym TIM.

Alltogether there are 16 personality types (TIMs), each of which handles different information elements with a different depth (dimension) of processing, the different attitude and feature. This is the way in which Socionics explains individual differences and attitudes of people.

Practical applications of Socionics

In what practical ways could be used the approach of socionics?

1. Personal development

Socionics describes an individual way of handling information, a sort of "specialization" of mind, which explains personal and professional preferences. Also, the model highlights "control buttons" of the psyche - the major focus areas of personal problems, fears, neurosis, obstacles. This knowledge can be applied for personality consulting, for solving problems related to personal development.

2. Interpersonal relationships

Given that there are buttons of informational control, and taking in consideration existence of information-specialized types of mentality, it can be seen that interaction patterns between different TIMs will be different. Socionics gives us a tool to describe the nature of information interaction between the types, it can predict which relationships will be comfortable, and which ones will produce conflict. This can be used to solve problems of conflicts and personal compatibility.

3. Communication

An obvious application of Socionics is to predict efficiency of communication. Socionics can help generate information messages to attract attention, to draw attention, facilitate assimilation of ideas as well as produce messages to cause rejection or resistance.

4. Other

Generally speaking, by virtue of its power of abstraction the socionics approach can be applied to any object that possesses either individual or collective psyche.  This allows one to apply the same approach and method to the analysis of social groups, nations, and other social formations. There are reports about projective typing of inanimate objects that can be successfully used to solve problems in industrial psychology and ergonomics.

What makes Socionics different

In order to study individual differences the classical differential psychology makes use of various typologies that are mainly based on classifications of descriptive features. As a rule, all the features are vague and inaccurate, which leads to ambiguity of interpretation and the "blurring" of the types boundaries. The features are derived from various observations and generalizations, so we can infer that the types describe what has been observed previously, but can not explain new phenomena, hence do not have predictive power.

In contrast to the typological approach, socionics is based on a model (ie, formula), which describes information processing, and this model can be used to predict new, previously unknown phenomena. System Socionics operates with a quite clear definition of information elements, function parameters and has a method of their identification. This allows one to operate a clearly defined categorical system and achieve an impressive diagnostic accuracy.

The scope and limitations of Socionics

Socionics describes mostly information processing phenomena, so its scope is limited to the processing of information and communication. Socionics is not applicable to a number of system-wide or non-information phenomena. For example, socionics cannot explain the goals of system elements. Socionics neither can explain the mechanisms of acquiring information from the senses, memory, etc.

At the moment, the model is quite simple and it can not be used to predict a complex and detailed individual behavior. However, despite its simplicity, this model is a promising tool for working with information phenomena and it is an important stepping stone for further research.

A brief overview of science Socionics can read in the paper by VD Yermak .