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The whole lot of useless nothing
16 September 2007

by Sergei Ganin

By now, due to some available translations, it is regrettably known that classical socionists are really keen on 11 additional dichotomies, discovered by St. Petersburg's mathematician Grigory Reinin back in 1984, who was awarded a title of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Socionics for increasing the number of available dichotomies from 4 to 15. It is unbeknown to me how exactly he arrived to this number and not any other number, but it seems to me he should have considered more dichotomies, like maybe few thousands more? And this is why...

Under superficial examination, Reinin dichotomies look quite promising, since instead of 4 usual scales of preferences that traditionally define the type, the additional 11 could be used, therefore theoretically making it possible to increase the reliability of testing significantly. There is no surprise that many supporters of classical Socionics have clung to this idea like a scuba diver to an aqualung. What's more, Reinin dichotomies have been mysteriologically tied with a classical model A, which gave them some sort of needed credibility. Given that the model A is just A model and nothing more, they therefore come to nowhere near the global understanding of types.

So what are Reinin dichotomies? (I apologise if I translated the original terms rather frivolously, as it makes no difference to the point of this article). They are: "Static" vs "Dynamic", "Positivist" vs "Negativist", "Questim" vs "Declatim", "Tactical" vs "Strategic", "Constuctivist" vs "Emotivist", "Left" vs "Right", "Farsighted" vs "Careless", "Obstinate" vs "Compliant", "Resolute" vs "Reasonable", "Merry" vs "Serious", "Autocratic" vs "Democratic".

These dichotomies are supposedly explained by examining model A as to which functional element is present in which block etc., and it is not really worth going into much detail. For example: Questims are all Extratims with [+] in the mental block of the model A and all Intratims with [-] in the mental block of the model A, Declatims are vice versa.

Some of the other Reinin dichotomies are quite obvious. The Static/Dynamic dichotomy for example could also be described in a primitive way of 4 preferences. The Static vs Dynamic dichotomy corresponds to Exxj, Ixxp types vs Exxp, Ixxj types. I actually find this dichotomy quite interesting. For some strange reason it's been widely accepted that these new dichotomies are behaviour related and therefore one should be able to assign behavioural patterns to each group. As a result each Reinin dichotomy has a behavioural description attached to it and in my opinion the main reason they have problem making them work.

If you look at the preferences you can see that Exxj and Ixxp are two very different type categories to be in the same behavioural group, so I don't really know how could one even start generalising such behaviour. I however don't say that these types cannot be in the same group, but not behaviour wise. What I've noticed is that these types have similar, quite prominent and easily observable physiological features that could already be used practically to distinguish types by this dichotomy. I won't go into details for now.

So this is what I did. I constructed a program that would iterate through all possible dichotomies, i.e. groups of 8 vs 8 types. There are 6435 such dichotomies and every single Reinin dichotomy is included in this number. To see the output of this program (note that the script might take long time to generate the result, so if you get "long running script" warning, just let it run anyway) click here. To compare, here is the Reinin/Common dichotomies result only.

Then I decided to look into Temperament theories, since there seem to be some correlation with Reinin dichotomies (you might have noticed already). We all probably know at least one such theory - the Keirsey's 4 temperaments: SP, SJ, NT, NF. I don't know why would Keirsey choose such a spastic group of pairs instead of NT, NF, ST, SF, but this is probably for the same reason why MBTI® Judging introverts have a dominant Perceiving function whilst Judging extraverts have a dominant Judging functions, same sort of semilogical approach I suppose, not very thoughtful shall I add. So I constructed a table of all 24 possible Temperament theories based on a combination of 4 preferences:

EN,ES,IN,IS EF,ET,IF,IT Ej,Ep,Ij,Ip NF,NT,SF,ST Nj,Np,Sj,Sp Fj,Fp,Tj,Tp
EN,ES,IF,IT EF,ET,IN,IS NF,NT,ES,IS SF,ST,EN,IN EF,IF,NT,ST ET,IT,NF,SF
Sp,Sj,NT,NF* SF,ST,Nj,Np Fj,Fp,NT,ST Tj,Tp,NF,SF Nj,Sj,Fp,Tp Np,Sp,Fj,Tj
Fj,Fp,ET,IT Tj,Tp,EF,IF Ej,Ij,Fp,Tp Ep,Ip,Fj,Tj EF,ET,Ij,Ip IF,IT,Ej,Ep

* Keirsey

When I filtered 6435 dichotomies through 24 temperaments I ended up with 46 dichotomies (the result). Yes, the primitive way of 4 preferences yelled more possible dichotomies than Reinin found initially. But this is not all. I cross-referenced Reinin with temperaments and there are only 10 (well 6 if you exclude the usual 4) dichotomies from 15 that match together (the result). This means that you can easily look further than 46. So it appears to be that the total number dichotomies that could be explained in one way or another is already 51 (the result).

If you take into account that Reinin dichotomies are mostly Quadsymmetrical, meaning that there are 2 types from each Quadrible in each group (if you exclude 3-1-3-1 for example) there are 648 Quadsymmetrical dichotomies (the result). And if you add to it all Reinin and Temperament dichotomies that are not Quadsymmetrical you end up with 667 dichotomies (the result). It appears to me that if you really want to waste your time on dichotomising socionics even further, then you cannot go below that number when deciding on what dichotomies to consider.

I don't want to sound wrong by saying that all this has no value whatsoever, so I won't say it. But I will say that all this undoubtedly brings even more confusion in the type theory. So if you want to pollute your brains - be my guest, only do it properly on the global scale of understanding and not with some incomplete additional 11 scales... So, can I have my medal now?
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