Dimensionality of functions


Dimensionality of a function is the number of qualitative information processing parameters in the framework of which a function of model A is capable of processing information. Each function has two characteristics: the amount of accumulated experience and its ability to process information, which is also known as the “strength” of the function. The concepts of dimensionality was introduced when it was noticed that a weaker function that has, for one reason or another, accumulated a lot of experience is easily mistaken for a strong function, which can lead to errors in typing. To resolve this issue, the concept of functional dimensionality was proposed by Kiev socionists (Bukalov, Yermak) and is now widely applied by socionists from various schools. A summary of this concept is given below.

Four dimensions

The four information processing parameters of each function of model A are:

Experience (Ex) = the ability to recognize patterns and make generalizations based on personal experience. This is the first qualitative parameter of information processing of a function. This parameter is present in all functions - all functions are able to gather and use life experience of a person. This is the individual experience of perception of information on some aspect.

Norms (Nr) = the ability to recognize and apply standard practices from one’s surroundings. This is the second qualitative parameter of information processing of a function. Use of norms is attributable to all functions except for painful and suggestive. This is information concerning the assessment of the aspect by others, i.e. an instrument for evaluating it in terms of “as is customary”, “as it should be”.

Situation (St) = the ability to recognize and respond to the subtleties of specific situations. This is the third qualitative parameter of information processing of a function, that is an attribute only of strong functions. This is the ability to develop new solutions within the parameters of a particular situation, i.e. taking into account situation specific properties and circumstances.

Time (Tm) = the ability to recognize and envision development over time. This is the fourth qualitative parameter of information processing of a function. Time is attributable only to the 1st and 8th functions of model A. This is the ability to evaluate (to transfer) of the situation in time, to model a situation in another time frame (not to be confused with the intuition of time).

Dimensionality of Functions of Model A

1-dimensional functions process information on a single parameter of experience; 2-dimensional function - on two parameters: experience and norms; 3-dimensional function - on three parameters: experience, norms, situation; 4-dimensional functions - on four parameters: experience, norms, situation, and time.

The dimensionality of functions of model A is as follows.
* Leading function (1) and Demonstrative function (8) have 4-dimensions: Ex, Nr, St, Tm.
  • Creative function (2) and Ignoring function (7) have 3-dimensions: Ex, Nr, St.

  • Activating function (6) and Role function (2) have 2-dimensions: Ex, Nr.

  • Suggestive function (4) and Vulnerable function (5) have 1-dimension: Ex.



Encompassed dimensions

(1,8) Leading, Demonstrative

4-dimensional (4D)

Experience, Norms, Situation, Time

(2,7) Creative, Ignoring

3-dimensional (3D)

Experience, Norms, Situation

(3,6) Activating, Role

2-dimensional (2D)

Experience, Norms

(4,5) Suggestive, Vulnerable

1-dimensional (1D)


Functions of Model A






1st Program


2nd Creative



4th Vulnerable


3rd Role



6th Activating


5th Suggestive



7th Ignoring


8th Demonstrative



1-dimensional functions - 4th (vulnerable) and 5th (suggestive) functions of Model A. These functions are capable of using only one parameter of Experience. Absorbing and processing information on the aspects of 1-dimensional functions is difficult. Here the person relies only on individual life experience that either he or she has lived through in the past or has observed of others. In other words, on these aspects a person learns only on own mistakes, while any explanations are not accepted and processed. When a new situation arises for which there is no already available template of behavior, a person may chose the next readily available one, which may not be entirely appropriate (inadequate or inappropriate behavior), or may even completely refuse to respond on the relevant aspects and instead shift emphasis to own strong functions.

2-dimensional functions - 3rd (role) and 6th (activating) functions of model A. These functions are capable of using two parameters of Norms and Experience. 2-dimensional functions can process both experiential information and information that comes from “theory” i.e. from experience of other people with no need to personally live through it, that is, from collective experiences that form social norms. On the aspects of these functions a person is able to learn from explanations and books written by others on how it “should be” and about typical solutions and normative methods. However, the person further proceeds to use this information in a standardized manner, not taking into account the specifics of various situations i.e. without situation appropriate modification of this information.

3-dimensional functions - 2nd (creative) and 7th (ignoring) functions of model A. These functions are capable of using three parameters of Situation, Norms, and Experience. 3-dimensional functions can process information on their aspects accounting for personal experience, norms, as well as the specifics of the current situation. As a result, these functions are characterized by creative use of accumulated experience and “theory”, adapting these to the concurrent situation or applying this information to completely different fields. They are able to combine person’s experience from different life situations in such a way that it allows to solve some new problems in new situations that a person hasn’t previously encountered.

4-dimensional functions - 1st (leading) and 8th (demonstrative) functions of model A. These functions are capable of using four parameters of Time, Situation, Norms, and Experience. 4-dimensional functions can process information of their aspects accounting for experience, norms, situation, as well as time, that is, they can transfer their assessment of a given situation along the time axis. This gives 4-dimensional functions high proficiency in prognosing of information on their aspects. These functions are capable of working “ahead of time” i.e. seeing the different contingencies and results of some experience or situation before its realization. Ability to compound diverse situations over time allows 4-dimensional functions to derive some general global level understanding on their aspects, that serves as main pool of understanding for a person and that is difficult to convey in its entirety. These functions are capable of coming up with something that is radically new in principle.

Other Notes on Function Dimensionality

Addendum to 4-dimensional functions written by Irina Eglit in “Four Parameters: experience, norms, situation, and time (or globality)”:

“Let’s imagine that you were shown a single frame of a situation and asked how you would you act in this case? Your data processing in this case will depend on the dimensionality of the function. The 3-dimensional function will process the information that is presented by this single frame situation to decide how to act in this situation. The 4-dimensional function will process the information concerning this single frame situation, and all the frames preceding that frame, and all the possible follow-up shots, to come to a decision. The 4-dimensional function cannot simply be limited to the situation, for it does not see the situation as static but as a development. Therefore, the solution coming from these two functions will be different. The 4th dimension - is a dynamic perception of the ever-changing world.”(c)

1-dimensional functions from School of System Socionics page:

Any information that ends up in a one-dimensional function is assessed by the function as pleasant or unpleasant. Natural (from the viewpoint of one-dimensional function) reaction when encountering an “unpleasant” information is the desire to get rid of it, to turn away, not to take it into account, to pretend that it does not exist, to forget, to fence off in any way.

One of the methods of “getting away” is mental time hastening - “I wish it ends quickly,” which leads to the feverishness of the function. Thinking becomes impatient, shallow and very narrow. It can be compared with the rapid running through dark places, when your field of vision is narrowed to a spot, you do not want to see anything around. Reactions are accelerated, there is haste. We are hurriedly doing something to get rid of the unpleasant thing faster: we quickly tinker through our relationship, we hastily make our calculation, or in general, we quickly react to the information related to the element of our one-dimensional function. This, of course, often leads to mistakes, and we get the opposite of what we have hoped for - we do not get rid of the unwanted situation, we make it worse. Trying to “run through” the situation at high speed, just to feel relieved that it’s over, deep down, we still feel that we are failing and we feel “suspended.”

From “Structure of Model A” published at Socionics Research Institute:

“In presence of harmonious development, these 4 vectors are balanced in an individual. If one or more of these vectors are amplified in comparison to others, it may indicate distortions in development. If a person has strengthened vector of globality, this is reflected by the fact that he sees things globally, such as projects, events, and people, and can see significant developments and challenges; at the same time he exaggerates their value. If a person has strengthened vector of situation, this is reflected in the fact that he easily orients in different situations, quickly and successfully adapts to events, and finds many creative solutions; at the same time he may be opportunistic and easily change his opinion and position. If a person has strengthened vector of norms, he carefully and accurately follows social norms and standards in both work and informal communication, in appearance, in style of speech (as he understands them), and ensures that the rules and the order are not violated. If a person has strengthened vector of personal experience, in most situations he relies primarily on himself or herself, on own experience and own opinions, while ignoring the opinions of others and not learning from the mistakes of others; he cannot broadly and creatively look at the situation, and evaluates people “by his own yardstick”.

From Sociomodel.ru:

“To give a simplified figurative example of the above descriptions, explaining anything on a 1-dimensional function, that “one should not step on the rake”, is meaningless: until a person steps on the rake and gets hit by it, he or she won’t “absorb” any recommendations and explanations; then, after getting hit by the rake, a person may not understand why this has happened and in the future may avoid anything resembling a rake even distantly (1-dimensional functions have skewed and distorted perception). A 2-dimensional function will understand and remember the advice that “one should not step on a rake”, but it will remember it in a formulaic sense and always apply it, even in situations when it’s possible to break this rule without any consequences (such as when a rake is standing vertically against a wall), until once again a person tries this out directly. In contrast to a 2-dimensional function, a 3-dimensional function is capable of seeing and distinguishing such “exceptional” situations. Finally, a 4-dimensional function does not need to be given such advice: looking at the rake, it is capable of perceiving what consequences can arise as a result of stepping on it.”