Type diagnosis


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There are many approaches used to identify socionic types.



Comparison to type descriptions

One of the most common and obvious methods to type someone, and oneself, is to make comparisons to type descriptions written by presumably qualified socionists. This is probably the preferred method to all newcomers to socionics, not so much by more experienced socionists, who eventually build up their own conception of each type in their minds, not needing to rely very often on descriptions written by others.

For the less experienced socionists, type descriptions ideally provide a quick glimpse of what representatives of each type typically are in real life, “on average” so to speak, and are often helpful in at least eliminating types that are very obviously different from the person being typed.

The major flaw of this approach is the risk of confusing information conveyed by the type description as being essential to the type when that is not the case. For instance, a description may mention that representatives of one type tend to display particular behavioral traits, or interests in certain activities, which may well be indeed very common among that type and yet not be essential to it functionally. This may lead one to dismiss a certain type as likely for a given person for what is in reality a minor reason.

Type descriptions are very useful as illustrations of how the functional preferences are commonly manifested in external behavioral traits, but they can also be misleading if such behavioral traits have other origins in particular individuals. Above all, the “check-list” approach to type descriptions, as in marking which percentage of the traits described in descriptions can be observed in the person being typed, maximizes this problem and should be avoided.

Some socionists are of the opinion that type descriptions should be best regarded as a didactic tool to learn socionics rather than tools for typing.

Written tests

Usually written tests provide multiple-choice options that are supposed to distinguish between poles of dichotomies. The goal of written tests is to objectively assess type, eliminating any one socionist’s biases from the procedure. However, the difficulty is to accurately convey to the test-taker what the dichotomies or elements really mean. Problems of interpretation get in the way, especially if the test-taker is unfamiliar with socionic types. An experienced socionist often does not expect these problems, and gets a rude shock when they appear.

If the socionist augments multiple-choice tests with further explanation and examples, their accuracy can increase.

Interview methods

Visual identification


Many professional socionists who use an interviewing method have to deal with the issue of “masks,” or behavior that people exhibit in unfamiliar or unwelcoming circumstances or when they are asked about themselves. Some of these masks can even be explained socionically.

Self-concept, or one’s self-knowledge, is the basis of one’s answers to traditional type tests and is not necessarily exactly in line with one’s socionic type. Many circumstances can influence self-concept and make the individual present a picture of himself that may be inaccurate. However, the objectivity of self-concept is almost impossible to assess during one visit or interview.