The Suspense Is Killing

Socionics: A “New” (to Me) Approach to Jungian Typology

In my search for greater understanding of myself, I discovered that the Myers-Briggs understanding of typology was not the only-–or even necessarily the best–-approach. “Type Twitter” introduced me to Socionics, a Russian take on Jung’s psychological types. I learned that there is not a one-to-one correspondence of MBTI type to Socionics type, because the cognitive functions, or information metabolism (IM) elements as they are called in Socionics, are not defined the same way in both.

I began to read about Socionics on several websites and found some online quizzes. Unfortunately, the results were inconsistent: am I an IEI or an EII? Or maybe something else entirely?

Potential Solution: A Live Interview

One of the helpful “type” people on Twitter recommended that I arrange an interview with Jack Oliver Aaron of the World Socionics Society and ask him to identify my type. I watched several public interviews Jack did and was impressed, so I decided to follow that advice. My interview was last night, and the time sped quickly by. At the close of the interview, I anticipated the results of Jack’s analysis with bated breath…only to learn that I will have to wait a week or so for his findings. I feel like a child waiting for Santa Claus to come.

Socionics: Surprise & Solution


Near the end of December I received the follow-up report on my live interview with socionist Jack Oliver Aaron, and it was not at all what I expected. According to the report, I came across in the interview as an SLI (Sensory Logical Integrator), a type nicknamed “The Craftsman.” Since my MBTI type is INFJ and I always test strongly on cognitive functions related to intuition (Ni and Ne) and feeling (Fi and Fe), this result was a surprise. Granted, socionics defines its “information metabolism elements” differently than the MBTI community describes its cognitive functions; nevertheless, I was not expecting such a difference.

The report I received (slightly edited for the sake of privacy) can be accessed here.

My first step was to read up on the information metabolism elements given by various online sources. Next I read a number of descriptions of the SLI at these websites. I was certainly willing to consider that my self-analysis was faulty, so I shared these descriptions I found with my youngest sister and my mother, asking if the characteristics sounded like me. My family agreed that they did not. I was still of the opinion that I am an EII (Ethical Intuitive Integrator) or, as a second but less likely option, an IEI (Intuitive Ethical Integrator).

I watched the video recording of the interview to see if I could discover anything there that might account for this seeming discrepancy. I did notice that Jack had not asked me a few questions that he typically asks in these interviews, such as “where do you see yourself in X years?” Of course, at my age I very well may not be here in ten or twenty years; that is up to the Lord and His perfect timing. I also realized that much of the information I provided was retrospective summaries in which I did not focus much on actual decisions or turning points. It also occurred to me that at my advanced age, I have had a lot of time to develop some of my weaker functions. I found no fault with Jack’s reasoning based on what I had shown him in my interview; I realized that I did not really take him into my life at various stages. He did the best he could with what I provided.

I was not really sure what to do with my typing dilemma. Then Jack reached out to me via Twitter DM on New Year’s Day and asked what I thought. I told him I “was almost hoping [he] would not ask for my feedback” and then shared at length some of the thoughts I expressed above. Jack told me he expected this would be the situation, which is why he asked me for my reaction.


Jack suggested a follow-up interview, and one was scheduled for January 7. I felt that this second interview allowed me to cover some ground that we had not covered in the first interview, and I was able to express a number of things I wished I had in the first interview.

This time I believe was I able to demonstrate that I am–in reality–an EII. Jack produced a revised report, which I am sharing (with a few minor edits for privacy’s sake) here.

Structure in Typology

Exploring Thomson’s Typology Structure

Structure in typology began to interest me back in January when I was reading the book Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual by Lenore Thomson. Of particular interest to me was the chapter “Personality Types Are Also Brain Types.” In it Ms. Thomson stated that PET scans placed each cognitive function in a specific area of the brain:

  • Front of Left Brain: Extraverted Thinking, Extraverted Feeling
  • Back of Left Brain: Introverted Sensation, Introverted Intuition
  • Front of Right Brain: Extraverted Intuition, Extraverted Sensation
  • Back of Right Brain: Introverted Feeling, Introverted Thinking

Also surprising to me was that Ms. Thomson identified the Tertiary and Inferior functions as the weakest of all eight cognitive functions. After the Dominant and Secondary functions, she places two “alternatives” that reside on the same side of the brain. Following those are two “double agents” located on the other side of the brain, where the Tertiary and Inferior functions are located. For me, as an INFJ in the MBTI system, Thomson identified the following as my “type lasagna”:

  • Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Left Brain)
  • Secondary: Extraverted Feeling (Left Brain)
  • Left-Brain Alternatives: Introverted Sensation, Extraverted Thinking
  • Right-Brain Double Agents: Introverted Feeling, Extraverted Intuition
  • Tertiary: Introverted Thinking (Right Brain)
  • Inferior: Extraverted Sensation (Right Brain)

Contrasting C. S. Joseph’s Typology Structure

In contrast to Thomson’s model was one with which I was somewhat more familiar at that time. This was C. S. Joseph’s “four sides of the mind.” Although I am not an expert in his typology, I have viewed a number of his YouTube videos. He assigns a different personality type to each side of the mind. For an INFJ like me, these sides of the mind are:

  • Ego: INFJ = Ni Fe Ti Se (see Dominant + Secondary above)
  • Unconscious: ENFP = Ne Fi Te Si (see Right-Brain Double Agents above)
  • Subconscious: ESTP = Se Ti Fe Ni (see Inferior + Tertiary above)
  • Superego: ISTJ = Si Te Fi Ne (see Left-Brain Alternatives above)

Remembering Something about MBTI Typology Structure

While pondering these discrepancies, I was struck by a sudden memory of something I had noticed when skimming through a portion of the MBTI Manual (3rd ed.). In that system, the Secondary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions all have the opposite orientation to the Dominant. Therefore, an INFJ would have:

  • Dominant: Introverted Intuition
  • Auxiliary (Secondary): Extraverted Feeling
  • Tertiary: Extraverted Thinking
  • Inferior: Extraverted Sensation

Because this differed from other MBTI-related systems I had encountered, I started to wonder: how are different typologies structured? I should note that my focus was solely on typology structure. As a result, I did not consider the various ways in which cognitive functions or information metabolism elements are defined.

Developing My Structural Analysis

Recently I became quite interested in Socionics. Consequently, I decided to start my analysis with Model A. In that system, my type is EII (Ethical Intuitive Integrator). In addition to the systems I have already mentioned, I also looked at Beebe‘s and Socionics Model J. After working on my diagram for a couple of weeks, I ended up with this:

EII Structure

To download this chart, click here.