Wednesday, 2 July 2014

An Introduction to Socionics: Part 2 - The Functions of Model A

In Part 1, I covered the very basics of Socionics. In Part 2, I will show how these basics come together in a Model to explain personality type.

Model A

Model A, named “A” after Aušra Augustinavičiūtė herself, is the most prolific model in Socionics for the structuring of the eight IM Elements, sorting each of them into one of eight functions which have a particular effect on how we approach that kind of information. Each of the 16 types can be identified through its unique assignment of IMEs to functions in this model, showing how they vary in their strength and valuing of each kind of information metabolism.

Model A is comprised of eight functions which each of the eight IM Elements are assigned to depending on your type. The function details how each type approaches its assigned IM Element, determining its level of strength, consciousness and whether it is valued or not. These are the Leading function, Creative function, Role function, Vulnerable function, Suggestive function, Mobilising function, Ignoring function and Demonstrative function in that order.

Public and Private  The eight functions can be divided by this dichotomy based on the role they play in our relation to the external world. Those kinds of information which are assigned to public functions are either what we actively bring to the world, or else are expected by the world to conform to, meaning that they form the basis of our achievements and failures in others' eyes. Those which are assigned to private functions are more internal, meaning that they form either our own personal needs, or else, the things we do well for ourselves without drawing much attention.

Strong and Weak  Depending on our type, certain kinds of information metabolism will be strong or weak, meaning we find it easy or difficult to act on that kind of information effectively. Bukalov introduced the idea of Strength/Weakness being divided into four levels (based on its intersection with the Bold/Cautious dichotomy), known as Dimensionality which varies from One-Dimensionality (Experience) to having all Four Dimensions (Experience, Normativity, Situation and Globality):

  • One-Dimensionality (1D) – Very Weak. These IM Elements can only be metabolised at the most basic and rudimentary level, meaning we are only open to our own Experience of that information and will thus come across as inept and indecent when using it ourselves.
  • Two-Dimensionality (2D)  Weak. We have to work at these IM Elements to achieve adequacy in them. Usually their use will be tiring to maintain. We are exposed to the Normativity of this sort of information and thus are able to conform to basic standards and expectations but as a result will be rather conservative and stiff in its use.
  • Three-Dimensionality (3D)  Strong. We can easily and readily metabolise these IM Elements, acting on them as and when we wish. An experience of Situation allows us to make judgement calls on this sort of information, knowing when it is best to adhere to basic standards and when to be more creative.
  • Four-Dimensionality (4D)  Very Strong. These kinds of information are so prevalent in us that they strongly dictate how we move and communicate in the world, thus having such a degree of Globality, that we often take it for granted. People can easily be recognised by the IM Elements assigned to these strongest functions.

Valued and Subdued– Depending on our type, certain kinds of information metabolism will be valued or subdued (not valued), meaning we will appreciate those kinds of information in our surroundings or reject/avoid them.
By combining the Strong/Weak and Valued/Subdued dichotomies, we form the four blocks which the eight functions can be separated into:

  • Ego – Public, Strong and Valued. The most apparent part of our personality. IM Elements in the Ego Block are those which we actively bring to the world, conducting ourselves and affecting our surroundings according to them.
  • Super-Ego – Public, Weak and Subdued. The painful expectations of society on us. IM Elements in the Super-Ego Block are those which we are expected by others to use but which we have no wish for and no ability to deliver. As a result, these kinds of information are a constant source of neurosis.
  • Super-Id –> Private, Weak and Valued. The unconscious needs we find help with from others. IM Elements in the Super-Id Block are those which we are generally blind to but which we find ourselves being drawn to when supplied by others. We enjoy these kinds of information and find ourselves appreciating people who readily provide them.
  • Id – Private, Strong and Subdued. The rejected approaches. We look down upon IM Elements in the Id Block as the alternative but incorrect ways of doing what we accomplish in our Ego. Instead of pursuing these kinds of information, we unconsciously carry them out as side effects of our natural motives, fulfilling the need with proficiency but without appreciation.


Leading – the tough, uncompromising and confident area of the psyche that powerfully commands our world view and is the source of why we do what we do.

Creative – the softer, more amenable helper that adapts and adjusts itself to each situation, coming up with some clever way of enabling the Leading program to succeed.

Vulnerable – the inept blind-spot, something we do not understand the point of and cannot adjust to in a way that is acceptable to society. It tends to let down the Role.

Role – the chaotic, inconsistent and largely reluctant attempt of ours to handle the pressures placed on us in life. Regularly it must step in and get its hands dirty.


Mobilising – when we feel more comfortable in ourselves, this is our attempt at growth, cockily coming forward to prove itself without the ability to justify such confidence, which can result in it tripping up.

Suggestive – the source of subconscious fulfilment, knows it needs something but is continually unsure about what exactly it needs. Causes pain and frustration that the need cannot be satisfied. We are happy to be helped here by others' input.

Ignoring  The opposite approach to our leading function. It is stiff, apathetic and uninterested in the proceedings, doing barely anything unless there is a real need.

Demonstrative  our area of competence that we take for granted and don't much care for, usually covered in the background and not given much conscious attention. We fall back on this area where we are unsure of ourselves.

Demanding and Supplying - For each Block, the function with the earlier number (1, 3, 5, 7) is known as the 'Demanding' function and sets a particular need or desire. The function with the later number (2, 4, 6, 8) is known as the 'Supplying' function and has to create some action or process to satisfy the requirements of the Accepting function. Depending on which IMEs are Accepting or Producing, a person's priorities will be to either satisfy their wants and interests, or standards and requirements, making someone either Irrational or Rational.

Stubborn and Flexible - The functions on the left (1, 4, 6, 7) are known as 'Stubborn' functions and are applied in a way that is stiff and uncompromising, we decide the level of input ourselves and don't adjust to others' input. The functions on the right (2, 3, 5, 8) are known as 'Flexible' functions and are applied more loosely and adaptively, changing with outside input.

Consistent and Variable - The functions that are furthest out and furthest in (1, 4, 5, 8) are known as 'Consistent' functions and are known to be most consistent in their level of output, whether consistently on or consistently beyond our capability. The functions in between (2, 3, 6, 7) are known as 'Variable' functions and are more prone to switch on and off in their use, depending on the situation or what we want or need.

Bold and Cautious - The Mental, Accepting functions and the Vital, Producing functions (1, 3, 6, 8) are known as 'Bold' functions and are used with confidence (regardless of actual ability). These functions show up more in our personality and are easier to observe. The Mental, Producing functions and the Vital, Accepting functions (2, 4, 5, 7) are known as 'Cautious' functions and are used more modestly. They can be quite subtle in a person and harder to observe. Depending on which IMEs are Bold or Cautious, a person's energy will be either high or low, making someone an Energiser or an Integrator.

Example of Model A-assignment for an ILE. As you can see, the IM Elements are drawn in their symbolised form in each of the function squares:

Alternatively, a very efficient way of writing out a person's Model A-assignment involves taking Gulenko's letter symbol of each IM Element and writing it next to the number symbol of each Function. For example, the above picture can be rewritten as "I1, L2, F3, R4, S5, E6, T7, P8". This is also useful for referring to a specific IM Element in a specific Function.
To learn about how different personalities come together and form group dynamics, click here and read Part 3 of this Introduction.

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