Monday, May 12, 2008

The Structure

IM Elements - IM Elements as Functions

IM Elements

Socionics is based on the Jung tradition that there are four lenses through which the world can be observed, analyzed, and influenced: the lenses of logic, ethics, sensing, and intuition. Socionics takes these four ways and divides them into two types of categories.

These ways can all be done in "extroverted" or "introverted" ways, and in "judging" or "percieving" ways. These divisions create 8 different areas of awareness of the world. We know these divisions of awareness as "IM Elements."

Extroverted and Introverted

First, dividing the four basic modes of observation and understanding into extroverted and introverted forms creates the basic IM elements:


Extroverted IM elements objectively observe the outer world.
  • Extroverted Thinking "Te" - considers action
  • Extroverted Sensing "Se" - considers energy
  • Extroverted Intuiting "Ne" - considers potential
  • Extroverted Feeling "Fe" - considers the catalyst; actively observing the subject to determine the whys of why he did this; concentrates on signs of expression


Introverted IM elements subjectively analyze the outer world's relationships to ourselves and to other things within it.

Introverted functions are active in our mind in how we understand and "feel" about objective things, how we relate to objective things. Ti, Si, Ni, and Fi are active in our brain making subjective ideas about things and their relations to eachother and to other things.
  • Introverted Thinking "Ti" - relations of causation; why did this happen, why did that happen; this is true and this is false.
  • Introverted Sensing "Si" - relations of sensations and sensated objects.
  • Introverted Intuition "Ni" - relations of trends, patterns, future, past.
  • Introverted Feeling "Fi" - relations of personal attraction and repulsion; "who" is good or bad; I like her, she is good and I do not like her, she is rude."
Judging and Perceiving

These 8 IM elements can also be categorized into judging and perceiving elements.


Judging IM elements primarily observe wrongness or correctness of areas in accordance with a certain system or value they hold in their heads.
  • Logic ("Te/Ti") - observe the wrongness or correctness of systems
  • Ethics ("Fe/Fi") - observe the wrongness or correctness of deeds


Perceiving IM elements primarily observe the potential in the situation in relation to the web of potential they perceive in the entire scheme of things.
  • Sensing ("Se/Si") - observe the potential of physical positioning
  • Intuition ("Ne/Ni") - observe the potential of event development

IM Elements as Functions

The basic makeup of the psyche in Socionics entails a structuring of each of the 8 IM elements into positions of strong, weak, valued, and undervalued positions. These acted apon by and through the Ego, the basic dominant two IM elements, or functions. In these positions the IM elements have certain unique function, and thus here are referred to as functions of the psyche.

Strong vs. Weak Functions

refers to high natural, automatic, instinctive awareness and observation of a certain element of reality. Weakness refers to a low natural, automatic, or instinctive awareness and observation of a certain element of reality. Weakness does not infer that the awareness cannot be "awakened" or purposefully fixated on--it just is not as natural or instinctive, so types who are strong in that area are usually better at being observant in that area, i.e. it is a strength for them.

Strength functions also refers to the fact that they are, at base, fixated on that element of reality; just because they are fixated on it, however, does not automatically infer great insight or talent at analyzing that area, however, that does tend to happen more often. It is like, two people may do nothing but study art, but one still may be more skillful than another, and moreover it is likely, although not certain, that they will be both quite skillful when compared to others; this level of success at what they fixate on, however, has to do with personal qualities. The degrees of success in one's area of strength in Socionics also still depends on levels of personal development. It can be affected by a myriad of things like maturity, mental health, levels of intelligence in differing areas, and so on. Socionics type does not determine levels of success in ones area of strength, but it does recognize that it is likely.

Valued vs. Undervalued Functions

Basically one area, whether it is strong or weak in awareness, is valued while another is undervalued. One is desired knowledge and viewed as profitable; the other is viewed as irrelevant knowledge and not lucrative.

Strong "Awareness": The Ego and the Id

The first area of strength, the Ego, contains two functions that are strong and valued; the Ego is the base "actor" of the psyche, which you use to observe, analyze, and interact with the world. The second area of strength, the Id, contains two functions that are strong and undervalued; these act as a support for the Ego. Some call it a conscience, telling you what checks and boundaries to put on your Ego so it will be more effective and less prone to error in evaluation of potential (sensing/intuition) or correctness (logic/ethics).

Weak "Awareness": The SuperId and the SuperEgo

The first area of weakness, the Super Id, contains two functions that are weak and valued; the Ego actively seeks them out. The second area of weakness, the Super Ego, contains two functions that are weak and undervalued; the Ego tries to cope or make up for them, or avoid them altogether.


Ego (Actor)
Super Id (Desires)
Id (Conscience)

Super Ego (Insecurities)

Each type must have both a judging and a perceiving as well as an introverted and an extroverted IM element to make up their basic 'Ego' functions. The makeup of this Ego will be discussed in the following The Functions article.

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