When individuals of the same socionic type can be grouped into subcategories by certain traits, we speak of “subtypes.” Many socionists use some kind of subtype system to help describe intratype differences. A number of such systems are familiar to many western readers.
This subtype theory is based on the premise that, within the same type, some individuals are inclined to have an strengthening, focus, or accentuation of a particular function(s) of their TIM model. This strengthening has an effect across the entire TIM model, which introduces variations to type expression within a type. Several socionics authors have tried to capture subtype variations in their descriptions of subtypes. Since type subtypes modify the expression of several traits, such as extroversion/introversion and rationality/irrationality along with others, some socionics practitioners recognize their influence in determining type.
The most commonly used subtype systems are 2-subtype systems such as “Contact/Inert” and “Accepting/Producing”, and a 4-subtype system called “Dominant/Creative/Normalizing/Harmonizing”, abbreviated as DCNH.
Accepting / Producing Subtypes¶
Accepting subtype corresponds to accentuation of “accepting” functions 1, 3, 5, 7; these are Program, Ignoring, Role, and Suggestive.
Producing subtype corresponds to accentuation of “producing” functions 2, 4, 6, 8; these are Creative, Demonstrative, Activating, and Vulnerable.
Contact / Inert Subtypes¶
This system of subtypes was proposed by V. Meged and A. Ovcharov. It is based on the premise that within a type some individuals will be more inclined to focus on their inert functions (1, 4, 6, 7), and others, on their contact functions (2, 3, 5, 8).
Contact subtype corresponds to strengthening of contact functions 2, 3, 5, 8. These are Creative, Demonstrative, Suggestive, and Role functions.
Inert subtype corresponds to strengthening of inert functions 1, 4, 6, 7. These are Base, Ignoring, Activating, and Vulnerable functions.
Theoretical information underpinning Contact-Inert subtype system is further described in the following articles:
Terminating / Initiating Subtypes¶
Terminating/Initiating is a subtype notation introduced by Victor Gulenko. This subtyping system is based on strengthening of the first, “program” function versus the second, “creative” function of TIM model.
Terminating (or terminal) subtype refers to streightening of the first, “program” function.
Initiating (or initial) subtype refers to strengthening of the second, “creative” function.
DCNH is a theory with 4 different subtypes proposed by Victor Gulenko.
Dominating subtype (D)
Creative subtype (C)
Normalizing subtype (N)
Harmonizing subtype (H)
Further explication and profiles of the four subtypes can be found in the following articles:
Like the names of core socionics types, subtypes can be called by different names (though most are fairly similar). This nomenclature can reference a particular subtyping system a person is using or assume a more general form. For example, type EII with strengthened second, creative intuitive function can be called:
Ne-EII or EII-Ne (the most common notation)
EII intuitive subtype
EII creative subtype
EII contact subtype
EII producing subtype
Dual-type theory is the proposition that individuals are in possession of two personality types which work together to create the experience of reality, see Dual-type theory. Although this theory is highly speculative, Carl Jung himself hinted at the possibility of more than one simultaneous type in Psychological Types.
Criticism of subtype systems¶
Critics of subtype systems say that in practice an emphasis on identifying subtypes draws attention away from the more central task of diagnosing type. Subtypes can be used as a “cop-out” to avoid taking a stance on a person’s type, or for explaining traits and behavior that contradict the basic type the socionist has diagnosed. Critics say that in many cases the basic type has been incorrectly diagnosed, and the addition of a “subtype” simply masks the contradiction.
Some socionists think that subtypes are best used to retroactively explain behavior of a person whose type is already known.