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Olga V. Arinicheva, Natalia A. Lebedeva, Aleksei V. Malishevskii
Socionic models of a person and their application in aviation

The article contains mathematical models of a person’s socionics characteristics based on fuzzy set theory. The practical application of the proposed models is focused on assessing professional aptitude of operators who have to process massive flows of information at a forced pace (for example, aircraft pilots or air traffic controllers).

typology, information metabolism, socionics, fuzzy sets, socionics models

1. Introduction

The theory of psychological types developed by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1971) combined with the idea of such a psychological phenomenon as information metabolism (IM) proposed by the Polish psychologist Antoni Kępiński (2014) gave rise to an independent direction in typology which is called socionics (Augustinavičiūtė, 2016; Karpenko & Bukalov, 2014; Filatova, 1999; Bukalov, 2009; Reinin, 2009; Gulenko, 2007; Leichenko et al., 2006; Bukalov, 2003). This direction was founded by the Lithuanian researcher Aušra Augustinavičiūtė and it differs significantly from the trend popular in the USA and Western Europe. This trend is based on Jung’s theory (Jung, 1971), works by American psychologists Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers (Myers & McCaulley, 1985; Myers & Myers, 1995), as well as David Keirsey’s works (Keirsey, 1998). The differences between these directions are discussed in detail in (Bukalov, 2003; Leichenko et al., 2006; Arinicheva & Malishevskii, 2017; Bukalov, 2017) and are most clearly and concisely formulated in the article by R. Blutner and E. Hochnadel (2010).

As the authors of this article noted in their works (Malishevskii et al., 2015a; Arinicheva et al., 2020), "traditional" socionics (Augustinavičiūtė, 2016; Bukalov, 2009; Filatova, 1999) believes that each person has his or her specific type of information metabolism (TIM). A person’s TIM is the way how this person perceives, processes, and transmits information in the broadest sense of the term. At the level of ordinary common sense, it is clear that the TIM which an aviation professional, in particular a pilot or air traffic control controller (ATC) has, cannot but affect his or her success at work, i.e. TIMs should be considered to be qualities important in a work environment in aviation (all TIMs and their correspondence to personality types are given in table 1).

However, judging by works devoted to socionics, for example (Karpenko & Bukalov, 2014; Filatova, 1999), many socionics professionals are concerned about the fact that the 16 TIMs covered by the classical theory describe the huge variety of information metabolism processes in a too simplified and primitive way. E. S. Filatova writes the following in her book: "Among representatives of the same type, there are people who are very different from each other. This means that 16 is an intermediate rather than the final number. A psychological type could be described much more accurately if each of the 16 types were divided into at least two subtypes characterized by how much this or that function is enhanced" (Filatova, 1999, p. 62). In other words, it is said that not less than 32 TIMs should be distinguished.
Here we are faced with the problem that the greater the number of types and the more accurate the description of each TIM, the less reliable is the result since no test guarantees absolute accuracy. And vice versa: the smaller the number of types, the more we can be sure that we have correctly identified a person’s TIM, but the description of this TIM will be of a more general rather than specific nature.

If we continue to develop the idea proposed by E. S. Filatova, we will see that it is possible to further split up the whole set of information metabolism processes into various subtypes. The descriptions of different TIMs will become more and more accurate. Eventually, we will have something similarto a digital image, in which separate points merge into a full picture that accurately reflects the reality. However, taking into account that it is already problematic to identify a person’s TIM when using the system consisting of 16 types, it will be impossible to unambiguously identify a person’s TIM using a system consisting of a huge number of types the same way it is impossible to measure infinitesimals. That is, if we stick to the "principle of discreteness" (as Leonid I. Filippov called this approach to the identification of TIMs in the so-called "traditional" socionics) (Augustinavičiūtė, 2016; Bukalov, 2009), or, in other words, to the idea of fragmentation, we will find ourselves in deadlock. To overcome this obstacle, we need to go a different way and, instead of using the "principle of discreteness", return to Jung’s idea that, if we take the extraversion / introversion dichotomy, "every human being possesses both mechanisms as an expression of his natural life-rhythm" (Jung, 1971), and the same is true for other psychological functions (PF), but one is "usually predominant" (Jung, 1971) while the others are "less differentiated" (Jung, 1971). This means that each person uses all 16 possible options for exchanging information with the environment. However, the possibility of using one information metabolism option is higher than that of another one. We would like to stress the word possibility, which is not the same as probability. Probability theory is based on random variables, whereas psychological phenomena are not random; they always have underlying causes even though we might not always be aware of it. At the same time, the fact that human psychology is so complex means that information metabolism processes cannot be rigidly determined. There are several possible ways in which they may develop. Moreover, information metabolism processes are inherently fuzzy. It is enough to say that the decision-making process is associated with thinking, which has been proved to have a direct connection with speech, and, consequently, is associated with verbalization and the use of linguistic variables. The fact that information is fuzzy as a substrate gives rise to the possibility of using different information metabolism options. This is why such mathematical tools as fuzzy set theory and possibility theory seem to suit the needs of socionics (Zadeh, 1978; Kaufmann, 1975).

In "traditional" socionics, there are various approaches to the problem of differences between people who seem to have the same TIM. A. V. Lustach from Belarus, a supporter of the "school of physiognomy" in socionics, writes: "The concept of subtypes as an independent classification of characters appeared in socionics after it was discovered that people who have the same TIM behave in different ways. It was first noticed in the late 1980s by the researchers who conducted socionics tests in big groups of people. As these differences could not be accounted for within the framework of the ideas about the psyche existing at that time, researchers started to develop and introduce additional classifications (subtypes, social masks, etc.) into socionics. However, their application encountered with a problem common for different directionsin socionics, namely a purely behavioral approach to identifying types and describing their qualities without any connection to the structure of the psyche. Due to the fact that there are no objective criteria for identifying TIMs in socionics, different schools of socionics are yet to suggest reliable identification methods and to find where the boundaries between TIMs and subtypes lie. One and the same personal act can be explained using the idea of either the TIM or the subtype or the social mask depending on the researcher’s subjective opinion. It is impossible to resolve the inconsistencies in the results of personality tests without using a reliable typological approach" (Lustach, 2009).

It should be noted that the reliability of a method used in identifying TIMs is a huge problem which has been discussed by the authors of this article (Arinicheva et al., 2008; Malishevskii et al., 2015a; Leichenko et al., 2006; Arinicheva & Malishevskii, 2014) and such well-known supporters of the "traditional" socionics as E. S. Filatova (1999) and T. N. Prokofieva (2005). Of particular interest here is the group of bipolar characteristics which was developed and described by G. R. Reinin based on Jung’s typology (Reinin, 2009). Unfortunately, discussing in detail the fundamental approaches proposed by T. N. Prokofieva and G. R. Reinin is beyond the scope of this article.

According to A. V. Lustach, "in the course of numerous experiments aimed at studying the behavior of people having different TIMs, Aušra Augustinavičiūtė’s idea was confirmed that only one of the eight functions discovered by Jung corresponds to (and perceives) each of the eight aspects of the physical world. Also, in the course of a large number of typology experiments carried out using interviews or external characteristics, it became clear that the intensity of a person’s interaction with one or another material aspect can be used to identify both the strength of a specific psychological function associated with it and its position in the structure of the psyche. This is how typology methods based on aspects / functions and the structure of the psyche were discovered. Moreover, observations showed that a person’s behavior always demonstrates functions which are unusual for their TIM, which are manifested in the same way as the functions of the so-called "main" TIM, as if they were parallel. Regarding these unusual TIM functions, the person behaves in the same way as they do according to their "main" TIM. There are also eight functions which manifest themselves in the person’s behavior and appearance. In other words, there are two types existing simultaneously in the psyche! A long history of observations connected with the phenomenon of the "second set of functions" gave every reason to consider this set of functions as a separate TIM that exists in the human psyche parallel to the "main" TIM. Today we can state with confidence that a person has two TIMs rather than one. And this is a norm rather than pathology because the number of people tested is measured in thousands, and all of them demonstrated having two TIMs – the main one and the additional one. Apart from the type and the subtype, there is the so-called "social mask" which is always present in human behavior. It is a model of behavior developed by the person and superimposed on the TIM and the subtype. As observations show, behavioral patterns connected with social masks are usually developed based on a person’s subtype" (Lustach, 2009). These words seem to be controversial if we take them literally, but, oddly enough, if we analyze the ideas proposed by A. V. Lustach, or by the school of physiognomy, in a wider context, it becomes clear that these observations are largely consistent with our idea of the socionics model of a person.
In "traditional" socionics, the most promising are the ideas on the forms of social behavior proposed by V. V. Gulenko (2007) (DCNH system, see Figure 1).

The famous adherents of "traditional" socionics Aleksandr V. Bukalov and Olga B. Karpenko of the International Institute of Socionics (Ukraine) write in their work (Karpenko & Bukalov, 2014): "It is inevitable that the issue of intra-type differences, or variants within a type (they are also sometimes called subtypes), emerges as soon as the principles of typology become applied in practice. Socionics distinguishes 16 types, but we observe a much greater variety of people, their characters, and kinds of stereotyped behavior in real life. One of the successful ways to describe the individual configuration of a person’s psyche is using the concept of the forms of social behavior. This concept was proposed in 1991 by V. V. Gulenko (2007). As it turned out, these characteristics are a very good addition to finding a person’s type in socionics as they provide for describing the behavior of a person in short-term contact at a short psychological distance. This is very important because intertype relationships manifest themselves over time. They have their own development dynamics and the nature of some of them can be reliably determined only in those pairs where people have been in regular contact for a long time. In some sense, forms of social behavior are easier to understand and present visually, especially if we observe people while they are playing a game or doing training, that is, at the very beginning of establishing interpersonal contacts. These forms are quite stable: we have been observing some people for 10-15 years and these forms have not changed. Therefore, we can assume that these characteristics correspond with some deep layers of the psyche rather than simply communication skills" (Karpenko & Bukalov, 2014, pp. 5-6).

V.V. Gulenko tried to formalize this difference and introduced very good terms which are opposing each other: initiating and terminating. Here is how they are defined in (Gulenko, 2007): "By terminating I mean the ability to finish what wasstarted and a tendency toward regulation. Initiating isthe opposite ability to initiate and to easily move on to something else, with an accompanying disorder in things and actions" (p. 6). The second pair of concepts introduced by V.V. Gulenko is ignoring and connecting. "The basis for this scale is assumed to be the level of sensitivity to changes in the environment. Connectors are very sensitive to such changes, whereas ignorers, as the name suggests, are capable of not paying any attention to this" (Gulenko, 2007, p. 7). At the intersection of these two axes, four forms of social behavior are found (see Figure 1)

The authors of this article seem to have found the way how to deal with the fact that 16 TIMs are too simplistic and primitive for describing the huge variety of psychological processes. Based on Jung’s theory, which is understood by the authors of this article in a sense very different from the understanding of this theory by Aušra Augustinavičiūtė (the authors of this article do not support the so-called principle of discreteness), the authors believe that each person can manifest all 16 variants of the information metabolism process. Then, relying on the theory of fuzzy sets (Zadeh, 1978; Kaufmann, 1975), we can move on from unambiguously defined TIMs and intertype relationships to more adequate socionics models which can help to analyze information metabolism processes. The most important socionics models developed at St. Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation are the socionics model of a person (SMP) (Malishevskii et al., 2015a; Arinicheva & Malishevskii, 2014; Leichenko et al., 2006; Leichenko, 2002) and the socionics model of intertype relationships (SMIR) (Leichenko, 2002; Leichenko et al., 2006; Arinicheva, 2008; Arinicheva et al., 2008; Arinicheva & Malishevskii, 2014; Malishevskii et al., 2015a; Malishevskii & Arinicheva, 2019).
Both TIM and SMP are found based on calculating data for four psychological dichotomies. The corresponding procedures are described in detail in (Malishevskii et al., 2015a; Leichenko et al., 2006). Since we are talking about linguistic variables, which, as it was mentioned earlier, are inherently fuzzy, we can only talk about the possibility that a given person may manifest one or another psychological attitude (Jung, 1971) or psychological function. Therefore, in order to develop a quantitative rather than qualitative model, it is necessary to find a membership function (MF) (Zadeh, 1978; Kaufmann, 1975) for each of the psychological dichotomies. It should be noted that we aim to find membership functions for psychological dichotomies as a whole rather than for one psychological function or attitude because a function and an attitude within one dichotomy are not inverse functions. (Weak extraversion with the possibility of 0.7 does not at all mean strong introversion with the possibility of 0.7 since a person can be, and most often is, ambivert or close to being ambivert). The membership function for rationality / irrationality (μ4) is found as a function from logic / ethics (μ2) and sensing / intuition (μ3) (Leichenko et al., 2006)

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