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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Following this guide, I will add a Socionics FAQ that I will try to update when I have time or interest. This guide may or may not be completed in the future. No promises.

How to use this guide

This guide is designed as a “beginners guide” to Socionics. As such, terminology will be adjusted to the MBTI-familiar level (a basic understanding of cognitive functions and how they work is necessary). This guide is the opposite of an “advanced” guide, so do not expect to read about advanced Socionics topics here.

What is Socionics?

Socionics is a personality theory based on Carl Jung's work from the early 20s. As such the psychologists involved did extensive revamping of the 100-year-old-information using various studies and research. It is based primarily on the soft science of “personality theory,” and only has a few studies (all of which were done in Russian) which seek to provide a level of empirical evidence. Unlike most other theories, Socionics correlates cognitive functions to “how people relate to others.” This means that a single one personality will relate to any one other personality in some key ways.

How can I find my Socionics “type?”

There are no tests which can be relied upon to find your type. A person must learn Socionics and ask “why do I behave in this way” in order to better identify their type. Just as with any personality system, psychological factors will play a strong role in determining one's type. For example, the “maturity” of a person and the “health” of a person may help or deter a person from accurately typing themselves (or being able to self-report their own behavior accurately).

What is the “j/p switch” I keep hearing about? How does MBTI relate to Socionics?

It is not important whether MBTI has any relation to Socionics. Many people believe that MBTI types should translate (usually Te-valuers who appreciate simplicity over accuracy) while others believe that they describe two different systems (usually Ti-valuers who appreciate accuracy over simplicity). Neither groups are more right or more wrong; Socionics was not at all based on MBTI, but both systems were based on one person's work (Carl Jung). So both have similarities and will inevitably have some level of correlation.

The “j/p switch” was part of an attempt for the Socionics world to get more popular via relating their system to MBTI (the MBTI is very popular in the west, and by relating the two systems, Socionics could potentially spread faster). The “j/p switch” refers to the concept that all MBTI types are the same as Socionics types EXCEPT introverts. All introverts have the opposite j or p. Therefore INFPs in MBTI would be called INFjs in Socionics. (They also lowercase the j or the p in Socionics.)

Ultimately the j/p isn't really used in Socionics in the first place, as the actual types are referenced by 3 letters. To get into Socionics, simply memorizing (or understanding) the 3-letter organization is usually recommended.

What do “types” mean in Socionics?

There are 4 “groups” of types called “quadras,” there are 16 “basic types” similar to the 16 MBTI types, and each type has a “subtype” (although subtype theory is not always accepted) for a total of 32 types. A “type” of person Ethical/Logical, Sensor/Intuitive, and Introvert/Extrovert. Unlike Socionics, only the last letter-designation is stationary; the last of the three letters will be an I for Introvert or E for extravert.

The word “ethical” and “logical” refers to the cognitive functions which deal with the logic of ethics and the logic of non-ethics. Ethical functions include Fe and Fi. Logical functions include Te and Ti. It is of note that in Socionics, cognitive functions are actually called “Information Elements” (or IMEs) and “functions” refer to the location of the “Information element.” However for this guide we will not use that terminology.

The order of the first (Ethical/Logical and Sensor/Intuitive) is dependent upon the cognitive function's “placement” (or “function” in Socionics lingo) in a person's cognitive function lineup. In MBTI, for example, an INFP's lineup would be Fi -> Ne -> Si -> Te (and then on to their “shadow functions”). The Socionics type which has a similar lineup (with Fi – Ne – Si – Te all being “valued” functions strongest to weakest) is called the “EII.” The reason an EII is ordered Ethical-Intuitive-Introvert instead of Intuitive-Ethical-Introvert is because their “Ethical” function (Fi) is first in their lineup instead of their intuitive function (Ne).

It might be advised to learn them via quadra-relations or “MBTI relations” instead of actually learning the logic behind each type if that helps. The actual types will be listed in the next section.

What are “quadras” and what are the 16 types?

A “quadra” consists of the four types which all share an appreciation for the same four cognitive functions. They are designated by greek letters, alpha through delta. In MBTI, for example, that “alpha” quadra would be ENTP, ESFJ, INTP, and ISFJ. These four all share an appreciation for Fe, Ne, Si, and Ti—however each of them has a different order in which those four functions exist. The ENTP, for example, has the strongest Ne but the weakest Si.

Beyond sharing an appreciation for the same functions, quadra can be vastly different from one another. However because they all share the same cognitive processes, there is a very high potential for positive relationships between quadra members. (More on this subject later.)

In alphabetical order, the types are listed below under each quadra:

Alpha quadra – ESE, ILE, LII, SEI
Valued functions: Fe, Ne, Si, Ti

ESE (Ethical Sensor [extravert]) – Fe – Si – Ne – Ti – (MBTI = ESFJ)
ILE (Intuitive Logical [extravert]) – Ne – Ti – Fe – Si – (MBTI = ENTP)
LII (Logical Intuitive [introvert]) – Ti – Ne – Si – Fe – (MBTI = INTP)
SEI (Sensor Ethical [introvert]) – Si – Fe – Ti – Ne – (MBTI = ISFJ)

Beta quadra – EIE, IEI, LSI, SLE
Valued functions: Fe, Ni, Se, Ti

EIE (Ethical Intuitive [extravert]) – Fe – Ni – Se – Ti – (MBTI = ENFJ)
IEI (Intuitive Ethical [introvert]) – Ni – Fe – Ti – Se – (MBTI = INFJ)
LSI (Logical Sensor [introvert]) – Ti – Se – Ni – Fe – (MBTI = ISTP)
SLE (Sensor Logical [extravert]) – Se – Ti – Fe – Ni – (MBTI = ESTP)

Gamma quadra – ESI, ILI, LIE, SEE
Valued functions: Fi, Ni, Se, Te

ESI (Ethical Sensor [introvert]) – Fi – Se – Ni – Te – (MBTI = ISFP)
ILI (Intuitive Logical [introvert]) – Ni – Te – Fi – Se – (MBTI = INTJ)
LIE (Logical Intuitive [extravert]) – Te – Ni – Se – Fi – (MBTI = ENTJ)
SEE (Sensor Ethical [extravert]) – Se – Fi – Te – Ni – (MBTI = ESFP)

Delta quadra – EII, IEE, LSE, SLI
Valued functions: Fi, Ne, Si, Te

EII (Ethical Intuitive [introvert]) – Fi – Ne – Si – Te – (MBTI = INFP)
IEE (Intuitive Ethical [extravert]) – Ne – Fi – Te – Si – (MBTI = ENFP)
LSE (Logical Sensor [extravert]) – Te – Si – Ne – Fi – (MBTI = ESTJ)
SLI (Sensor Logical [introvert]) – Si – Te – Fi – Ne – (MBTI = ISTJ)


1,869 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
How do “valued” and “devalued” functions work?

Just as in MBTI, people have four “primary” functions from which they process information and make decisions. Unlike MBTI, however, the four “shadow” functions aren't ignored (or only used in stress/other situations). Instead, Socionics suggests that each and every one of the eight functions are actually used to process information or make decisions, but for different purposes. For this reason, every type has four “valued” functions as well as four “devalued” functions.

Explaining each of the purposes can get complicated, so for now understand two things: people tend to enjoy using their four valued functions (listed above under the quadra section) while they generally avoid using or being around people that use their devalued functions—especially their weakest devalued functions.

The positioning of each function is important in Socionics, however here is a very simple breakdown of the valued functions as well as the devalued ones. We will use the Gamma LIE (aka the MBTI ENTJ) as an example here.


Remember these are listed in order of strength. Therefore Te and Ne are the LIE's (ENTJ) strongest functions, even though he or she values Te and does not like or value Ne:

Te / Ne
Ni / Ti
Se / Fe
Fi / Si

You will see that the ENTJ is very bad at both Fi and Si, but “values” Fi and “devalues” Si. Similarly he or she is “good” at Ni and Ti both, but only values Ni. They are somewhat bad at Se and Fe but only values Se.

Socionics refers to each pair of functions in “dimensions.” The higher the strenght of the function, the higher the “dimension.” As there are four “pairs,” there are four “dimensions.” The LIE's “4d” functions are Te and Ne. The LIE's “2d” functions are Se and Fe, etc.

So far, this is fairly easy to understand. However each location is important. For example, the simple fact the the LIE is equally good at Ni and Ti (both being 3d) doesn't account for the LIE's tendency to completely ignore Ti logic when possible while embracing and pursuing Ni frequently. In fact, the “devalued 3d function” is called the “ignoring function” in Socionics. While each function has its own role in a person's psyche, we will not delve into this right now.

How do relationships in Socoinics work?

Because there are 16 different basic classifications of personalities in Socionics, there are 16 different possible relationship dynamics. Before you throw the entire theory out, stating, “anyone can get along with anyone,” there is one crucial concept to always remember in Socionics: each and every relationship is only defined in “close psychological distance.” This means that each relationship studied and defined by Socionics psychologists was entirely based around people whom entered some form of close psychological bond or relationship. Socionics does not calculate or suggest acquaintance-based relationships, and does not claim that all relationships can be simply defined by a few rules.

Word of warning: some relationships have been idealized and others have been demonized by casual Socionics hobbyists. Socionics does not purport that only a few relationships can be successful, but rather strives to explain the harmony and/or dissonance in each type of relationship.

As a general rule of thumb, the people who share cognitive function values with you will be the most “ideal” in relations. (Although not necessarily romantic relationships.) Romantically, people who have the exact opposite strengths and weaknesses—however still share the same values (or at the very least the same F or T values)—will be preferred over those who don't. While these rules are generalizations, getting into each of the 16 types of relationships can be very tedious.

A quick breakdown of a few of the 16 intertype relationships (a bit more advanced):

Inner-quadra (all relationships share the same valued functions):

ActivityLogical with Ethical pairing. Both are introverted or extraverted. One of the best romantic (and other) relationships. Introverted Activity “partners” are most likely to succeed. This relationship suffers from exhaustion (hence introverts, who naturally keep more space away from other people, succeed more often).
Duality – Often considered the “best” relationship. Logical with Ethical pairing. One is extraverted, the other is introverted. Share the exact opposite valued and devalued functions, ordered inversely. For example, an EIE (ENFJ) with an LSI (ISTP) would have functions that compliment each others' exact weaknesses. Even their devalued functions are precisely reversed, so that each one's weakest and devalued function (often called the “Point of Least Resistance,” or “PoLR,” which is a very difficult and harsh function everyone has to deal with) is entirely taken over by the other partner.

Because one is an introvert and the other is an extravert, exacerbated by the fact that both have opposing ordered values, the extravert will usually overlook the introvert, thinking the introvert is boring, while the introvert will consider the extravert “out of his/her league” or simply not interesting. Dual relations require bridging the gap from acquaintance to “close” relations before they can work.

Duality is idealized by many Socionist hobbyists, however has been shown in some studies to be a statistically more comfortable coupling.

Identical – Relationships between the exact same type, such as an IEI (INFJ) with another IEI. These are very good relationships, however suffer from long-term boredom; both individuals will be able to finish the others' sentences, each will know what the other is thinking, and both will suffer from the same weaknesses. These can all be good concepts as well, and in fact both share the same strengths as well as weaknesses.

Mirror – One is introvert, the other is extravert. Both share logical or ethical functions. For example, an LIE (ENTJ) with an ILI (INTJ). These are poor romantic relationships as both parties feel like the other person is focusing on the wrong concepts (the LIE may focus on Te while the ILI may focus on Ni), and neither can help each other with their weaknesses. Mirror relationships, however, are among the best non-romantic relationships as business partners and friends can strongly value the others' unique perspective.

Conflicting-quadra (no relationships share the same valued functions):

Conflicting – No functions are shared, and in fact are all precisely reversed. One person's 4d valued function is the other person's 1d devalued function. These are considered the worst possible relationships at close distances, as neither will understand the other person. Ironically, the mystery of the other one will often draw them together at first. In MBTI, conflictors are the exact opposite letters while sharing the same P or J. For example: ESFP and INTP, ENTJ and INFJ, or ISTP and ENFP.

Quasi Identical Both are introverted or extraverted, both are intuitive or sensor, and both are ethical or logical. The difference is the order. In MBTI, it's simply that the P and the J are not shared. Examples: EII (INFP) and IEI (INFJ), SLI (ISTJ) and LSI (ISTP), ILE (ENTP) and LIE (ENTJ).

Many people will see these as highly similar from the outside, but ultimately they value completely different processes. These have an odd shared common ground, but the relationship is ultimately found to be awkward as the other has entirely different background reasoning behind the shared common ground. While the relationships are not usually bad, they usually don't succeed. The partners (romantic, friends, or other) will simply drift apart without much hard feelings.

Super Ego – Both are introverted or extraverted. Everything else is opposite, except in MBTI they both share P and J as well as I and E. Examples: SEI (ISFJ) and ILI (INTJ), SLE (ESTP) and IEE (ENFP), and LSE (ESTJ) and EIE (ENFJ).

These are usually considered almost as bad as conflictors, as the values are nearly the opposite, but there is no “mysterious connection” at first.


1,869 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Snow I see your beginners guide uses j/p switch when referring to MBTI versions of Socionics types... it shouldn't.

That is, it shouldn't even try to equate the types as if they fully matched between the two systems.
All designations are clearly delineated here. Additionally, this is an "MBTI to Socionics" beginners guide--not simply a "beginner's guide to Socionics." Read the title ("MBTI to Socionics), the "How to Use This Guide" (namely where it says, "terminology will be adjusted to the MBTI-familiar level," and later in the actual j/p switch section for more information.

I'm aware there are two categories of people: those who believe there is reasonable correlation between the systems--and therefore the cognitive function orientations are essentially the same--and those who believe that any correlation is superfluous. This guide doesn't take one side or another, however it WILL use MBTI terminology to ensure that MBTI-familiar people can understand what's going on.

For more discussion on why I believe this is important (even if you or others feel otherwise), see this thread. In this thread, I argue that in PerC, there is a resource of personality-interested people which can potentially help spread Socionics. With this in mind, I suggest that a sacrifice of some accuracy for increased familiarity would yield the result of more PerC members looking into Socionics. Most disagreed with this theory, but that is why I am making sure to include MBTI-related material in this guide.

1,869 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This has nothing to do with how I "feel".
Everything you wrote is based on your subjective opinion, and therefore how you "feel." Your opinion seems to be that because you identify the systems as completely separate, then correlating them at all is "misinformation."

If you would like to rewrite this guide or create another, feel free to do so. This guide is for MBTI-to-Socionics beginners, and covers questions which are frequently asked, and which I answered. I am not going to speak a new language to someone who doesn't understand the language yet.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@ColdWindsRising glad this helped. To put IEI vs EII (the MBTI INFJ and INFP respectively) into perspective, the IEI will be much more interested in verbal banter--sometimes bordering on receiving and giving abuse--and will mock overly sincere and serious persons, however never in a manner to actually harm them or the people around. (This is the IEI's Se dual-seeking combined with Fe-creative.) The EII, on the other hand, will stay away from aggressive banter and, in fact, will try to resolve any feelings of aggression or animosity in the people he or she knows.

Naturally other factors such as maturity, mental health, enneagram/fears (if you subscribe to enneagram; otherwise it's still clear people are motivated by different things), and even cultural upbringing; an EII may develop a need to banter growing up in a family of betas, and not realize it's unnatural or even upsetting to them; an EIE may squelch most of his or her aggression altogether upon accepting society's anti-violence stance; etc.
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