...The MBTI is based on questionnaires with so-called forced-choice questions. Forced-choice means that the individual has to choose only one of two possible answers to each question. Obviously, such tests are self-referential.
That means they are based on judgments of persons about themselves. Socionics rejects the use of such questionnaires and is based on interviews and direct observation of certain aspects of human behavior instead. However, if personality tests are well constructed and their questions are answered properly, we expect results that often make sense. For that reason, we do not reject test questions principally, but we have to take into account their self-referential character. Another diﬀerence relates to the fact that socionics tries to understand Jung’s intuitive system and to provide a deeper explanation for it, mainly in terms of informational metabolism (Kepinski & PZWL, 1972).
Further, Socionics is not so much a theory of personalities per se, but much more a theory of type relations providing an analysis of the relationships that arise as a consequence of the interaction of people with diﬀerent personalities.
The 16 psychological types correspond to the 8 sectors. if we take into account that the two dominant (conscious) psychological functions can be either in the extraverted attitude or in the introverted attitude.
Taking C.G. Jung’s theory seriously, the expression of a person’s psychological type is more than the sum of the
four individual preferences expressed by the MBTI. This is because of the way in which the preferences interact
through type dynamics and type development. Although the interpretation of the MBTI acknowledges the role of
type dynamics and type development, these concepts do not enter the test procedure. As an example, assume that for a person X, the test results indicate a perfect balance between Extraversion and Introversion (i.e. 50% E, 50%). Assume further that we also ﬁnd a perfect balance between Thinking and Feeling and a low percentage of the irrational functions. Obviously, the type of extraverted thinkers and the type of introverted thinkers are both in agreement with this test results. Unfortunately, there is no way to discriminate the two types by simply testing the percentage of E, I, T and F. The reason is that, due to type dynamic in the case of extraverted thinkers, the ET function is superposed with the IF function. And in the case of introverted thinkers the IT function is superposed with the EF function. In both cases we get 50% E, 50% I, 50% F and 50% T. Hence, though there is a big difference between the personality types that agree with the test results, there is no way to determine the correct Jungian type by using the MBTI. What we need are particular test questions that directly test for the functions in a certain attitude.
More recently, Singer, Loomis, and their followers (Loomis, 1991; Loomis & Singer, 1980; Loomis, 1987; Myers, 1962; Myers & McCaulley, 1985; Singer & Loomis, 1984) have criticized several aspects of the MBTI, including the fact that this test: (a) does not really include Jung’s claim that the psychological functions cannot be considered in isolation, but always with respect to a definite attitude, (b) does not regard quantitative interpretation of the MBTI scores, and (c) assumes bipolar opposites of psychological functions rather than logically independent response items corresponding to the two poles of the “opposites”.
With regard to the latter point, Loomis and Singer argued that if Jung’s bipolarity assumption was correct, that is, if the oppositional arrangement of the functions was inherently within the individual psyche, then it was not necessary to use forced-choice questions to assess an individual’s typology. On the other hand, if Jung’s bipolar assumption was not valid, changing the forced-choice items in the GW and the MBTI to another format would have an eﬀect on the resulting proﬁles.” (Loomis, 1991, p. 45)
This change of the procedure changed the outcomes drastically. For instance, from 79 subjects of the MBTI study (modifying the original MBTI material) 36 (46%) were found who did not have the same superior function on the revised version as they had on the original version and 29 (36%) were found who did not have the superior function opposed to the inferior function (Loomis & Singer, 1980).
Though Loomis and Singer, as well as the school of Socionics, generally stress the consideration of psychological functions as always being relative to a certain attitude, extraverted or introverted, this crucial point was disregarded in the Loomis & Singer (Loomis & Singer, 1980) experimental study. Possibly, this could explain the surprising result. In forced-choice questions for both parts of the question – “be personal” or “be objective” in example 2 – the same attitude is taken. However, when two isolated questions are constructed, then it is possible that different attitudes are taken for the two questions: For example, could be interpreted as highlighting introverted feeling, connecting us to our inner values. And could be interpreted as highlighting extraverted thinking, connecting us to the outer, physical world. In contrast, when asking, one and the same attitude is taken, though it is not always clear which attitude.
Assuming that the extraverted attitude is more probable we get a preference for the answer “objective”. Hence, it could be that our superior function is Thinking, and Feeling is the inferior one. This contrasts with the revised case of two isolated questions where both Thinking and Feeling could be the two highest ranked psychological functions. In this way, the results of the Loomis and Singer (1980) study become understandable.
For good reasons C.G. Jung was relatively vague concerning the details of type ranking and type dynamics. However, he seems to claim that the auxiliary function has the same attitude as the ﬁrst function (otherwise the auxiliary function could not support the ﬁrst function), and he insists on claiming that the unconscious inferior function always has the opposite attitude of the superior function.
Recent experimental studies made use of the full inventory of the Singer–Loomis type development inventory and clearly demonstrated the shortcomings of the MBTI. Unfortunately, these studies were not really conclusive about empirical constraints concerning possible sequences of psychological functions in a certain attitude and other aspects of type dynamics (Dugan & Wilson, 2002; VachaHaase & Thompson, 2002; Wilson, Dugan, & Buckle, 2002)