• An interview with socionist Victor Gulenko, hosted by Socionics Events USA, with Russian-English interpretation by Elena Ames-Hagba.


1. Is type innate? If so, at what age does type become set and can be observed? If not, what affects one's typing?

The type is innate, but its energy and information are filled gradually. You can observe the type from the day the child is born. Somehow, this type you can already observe within the first years of child development, and one chidl will be loud and whiny, another will be calm, third will be careful and fearful, the fourth will be brave and climbs everything and so on, so that means that there's already a type in somebody's person, so you can observe it from very early age. I spend a lot of time and energy to counsel children and their parents, and can confirm that you can distinguish a child's type at the age of 3 or 4, but of course you will also need to ask a questions of the child and parents, and not just by observing the behavior. How to observe the type: type is the stable psychological structure of the person, and it manifests itself via various reactions in our brain. Unfortunately, we don't have such a device to research how our brain works. We don't have some kind of constant attached X-ray to our brains to monitor such spontaneous reactions, so you can instead observe the behavior of the person to detect the type. This is also how you can detect a type: you divide a group into two groups. For example extroverts and introverts and you give them the same task. Distantly you observe the differences of task implementation. Only with this contrast you can see the difference clearly.

2. How do you take mental illness into account when typing a person? What types are more susceptible for certain disorder? Is it possible for a severe mental illness or a traumatic event to change someone's type? What about substance abuse and typing?

Type does not change throughout your life, whether disorders, stress, or diseases. All that can change is the version of the type or the functional condition. Meaning some functions can get suppressed or others strengthened. If these changes are permanent and noticeable in you, it just means your subtype has changed. This subtype change can happen in one of two ways. The first way is called upgrade. It is when you go to the higher level of the psychological step. For example, if you are normalizing subtype you will become creative. The second way is called downgrade, which is when you go to the lower level of the psychological step, so if you are normalizing you will become harmonizing. In the first situation normalizing subtype will go above and beyond breaking norms, and in the second scenario, normalizing will be suppressing those norms to adapt to the situation.
Clinical research shows accents within the type. There's a connection between certain functions and those accents. For example, accent towards F which is extroverted sensing (Se) will lead to excess ability, an accent towards R which is ethics of relationships (Fi) to anxiety. However, the accent is not a pathology, not a disease, it is only the excessive manifestation of the function, which brings a lot of discomfort to someone's life.
With over 30 years of experience of observing different types from different angles, it has become clear that the central quadras that are Beta and Gamma have more tendency to substance abuse. This is because these quadras value extroverted sensing, which produces an inclination towards tough competition. These types sometimes need some sort of stimulant or substance to tolerate those raised loads on their psyche of competition survival.

3. How does The Big 5 relate to neuroticism index?

The basic scale of The Big 5 can relate to socionics, as there are a lot of similiarities. The first factor is extroversion, which correlates to socionics extroversion. It is the first noticeable, "on the surface" trait. The second factor is openness, which is when a person is open to new things, which correlates to socionics intuition. The third factor is conscientiousness, which relates to socionics rationality. The fourth factor is agreeableness, which means that you will agree with society's standards, which correlates with socionics ethics, especially ethics of relationships, which is introverted feeling. The last factor is emotional stability, which was discovered later. It doesn't relate to Aushra or Jung's dichotomies, but Gulenko discovered that it could relate to a DCNH subtype dichotomy called terminality. It is is about how well you adapt emotionally, and see your goals through to the end without being swayed emotionally.

4. Does socionics consider individual human characteristics or only model ones?

Yes, it does consider individual characteristics of the human being through the functional profile. It shows what functions are stronger and which are weaker in the person, in comparison to standard type, giving a close-up view of the individual person, and not just the type.

5. Is there anything you've ever wondered about, in regards to it correlating with socionics?

Of course, as an LII representative, Gulenko's been interested in complex systems, and questions such as: why some human societies live one way and others another; why some people are more successful than others; is there any mental device that affects the forms of social organization; and where is our society going. With his structural logic he's also realized that in all of the variety of human characters, there is one single system. Gulenko is always preoccupied with these kind of thoughts, and he says sometimes they help, sometimes they overwhelm.

6. Are romance styles expressed as a general presence, aura, or vibe? Are aggressors and infantiles, or any romance styles, distinguishable from how they carry themselves, or their body language?

Yes, there are such scenarios, but at first you can't see them, because when you have a formal contact you never touch the core of personality. However, those types of scenarios are expressed in more concrete behavior when you move to a close distance of communication, and you will feel them as a psychological aura or vibe around these people. These scenarios will be generated by your first, or strong function.
Here's an example: the victim will generate a vibe of anxiety around him - some sort of uncertainty and sometimes even a physical shake or some fear that might be released through sweat, for example. The aggressor will notice this immediately and it will be a massive signal to the aggressor type. This kind of signal will attract aggressor to the victim. Then the aggressor will carry out an act of some cruelty. Not necessarily physical cruelty, but it could be some threat or symbolic threat, or something along those lines. After that act, the aggressor will feel pity for the person, and have an urge to want to help the person. This is how they bond.
The aggressor type will generate a very powerful psychological vibe around him, and when you get in his presence you will feel enormous amount of pressure, and some sort of compression on yourself. You might like this or you might not like it.
Passionate communication types will generate a very powerful emotional field, which will attract cold-blooded type with their energy.
Infantiles generate a field of creativity. They demonstrate childish behaviors of some sort, or childish risk. This type of behavior will instinctively attract the caring types. It's like mother's instinct that is drawn to a child that needs to be fed and taken care of.
Don't forget that every type will have a combination of two scenarios of behavior happening at the same time [I think Gulenko was referring to romance styles and the communication styles]. Which one is dominant will depend on the individual type's features, and how well your functions are developed.

7. What are the most reliable population statistics you have found? Is there a statistic broken down by quadra and type, and what is your favorite subtype system and why?

Gulenko doesn't collect statistics, so he can't quote them, but he knows some people who work with the statistics and he will speak of this later on. Gulenko always gravitated towards live socionics and not the numbers. As an explorer of nature, he researched real behaviors of people and theoretically collected what he found out, and that is why his school is called School of Humanitarian Socionics.
Gulenko's been researching socionics for over 30 years. His observations have shown what kind of types we see at the top of the social pyramid. For example, among all famous people, such as politicians, businessmen, actors, you can see a lot of representatives of the central quadras. They have the advantage when it comes to acquiring fame. The further up you go up the pyramid the less evenly the types are dispersed [translator phrased this unclearly - that's how I interpreted it].
The first subtype system was proposed by Gulenko at the end of the 1980s, when socionics was in its infancy. He then only had two subtypes: initial and terminal, and not four like he uses today. The reason for creating four subtypes, is because Gulenko wanted to figure out more differences among the same type, after noticing that four people can be the same sociotype, but still different. After more research and work, Gulenko discovered that two additional attributes could be found within one type, and now he uses a four subtype system called DNCH, which stands for Dominant, Creative, Normalizing, and Harmonizing. The reason Gulenko came up with Normalizing and Harmonizing, is because he discovered a subtype dichotomy of contact and distance.

8. Any advice for personal growth [for LII]? What advice would you give yourself as a 20-year-old concerning, love, work, weaknesses, and strengths? Where do you find Hugos?

As a representative of being a Logical Intuitive Introtim, Gulenko can give you advice to first develop your Fi, because without it you will have some issues with realization in this life. LIIs that don't develop their Fi may appear autistic, a little bit.
LII has undervalued extroverted thinking. The suggestion of how to deal with that is to act on your thoughts right away, otherwise it will stay as a thought and a theory, rather than become an object, or something useful in your life.
The third piece of advice for the LII is to trust your second intuitive hunch. What Gulenko means by this, is that the LII will first think of something and then intuition will help them with the answer. The decision that intuition is telling you is still kind of raw, so you need to go back to thinking mode, and see what intuition tells you the second time. The second time your intuition will be right, and your decision will be correct.
Last advice for LII is to use your intuition of opportunities as much as you can. Risk things every once in a while. Without taking such risks you will never gain a very valuable experience. In his life, Gulenko took a lot of risks travelling, talking to a lot of people - teaching them, meeting them. That helped him to gain that life experience that he values today.

Recommendations for all types: you need to organize yourself in quadras, but do not lock yourself in one. You will feel very comfortable within your quadra, but in order to achieve something, to spin the wheel of progress, and for this life to make sense you need to partner with the quadra that is your strategic alliance. Alpha is partnered with Beta, because both share common values and are called ascending ones. They both generate a lot of ideas and energy. Gamma is with Delta. They are both called descending ones, and are more about implementation.

Dualization is easier for those who are born in dual families. It happens naturally for them. As far as finding your dual, it happens by accident, because you and your dual don't live in the same environment. Dualization, as a process, typically happens when you have a problem someone is helping you with, and you help them in return. It is the mutual support and help for each other. Among those people, when you're receiving this kind of support and help, you feel an energy and connection. If you feel this, then it is your dual. This kind of mutual support leaves a great deal of emotional trace in you. If you don't have a problem of this sort that you need this help and support with, and if you're already living happily, you may not value your dual as much as when you need a dual.
In order to really experience dualization, people need to group themselves together and go on a camping trip, for example. There you will start socializing with different people, especially your dual.

9. How can you apply socionics for your personal growth? Can you improve any aspects of functions, and how? What functions have more potential for personal growth?

Growth happens when you start interacting with others. To improve certain functions of your own, first you need to gain a proper understanding of the function you want to improve, from analysis to the proper behavior. Then you need to spend as much time as you can time with others who have this function as a strength. First, learn and develop the function on your own, then go to an environment with a lot of people who have this function to practice it. For example, if you want to improve the function of ethics of emotion (Fe), you need to go to a place with a lot of actors. Spend time around them, imitate them, and maybe even participate in some sort of play. If you want to improve your intuition of opportunities, you need to visit a lot of different places. For example, where people generate a lot of ideas, and they brainstorm. You need to participate in this kind of activity with them.
The most potential for development are in the functions of your social mission. This will be the first and the second priorities of your type. However, sometimes it's not possible to develop them due to an unfavorable environment.
The function that will provide the greatest benefit to you if developed will be the role, in the situation where there is a great deal of uncertainty.
It is better not to touch your fourth function, because you will spend a lot of energy on it, but there won't be any satisfaction brought back to you as a result. It is better to delegate that activity to somebody else.

10. What is the basis of the energy model? And if there's time, how do you distinguish between subtypes in your new subtype system?

This is the most complex question, and requires a lot of knowledge in socionics. The basis of the socionics model is a system of aimed connections between psychological functions. They are chained together and always directed, because there is a transfer in a particular moment from one function into another in a certain direction. There are only two kinds of directed relationships between socionics objects, and they are asymmetrical. They are called supervision and benefit.
If we connect functions through supervision relationships, we will have Model A. Through supervision, the supervisee will receive the information quicker. It is an asymmetrical relationship.
While supervision relationship connect you via an informational transfer, the other asymmetrical relationship known as benefit, will connect you via an energy transfer. This is how your benefactor involves you in on an energy level into something.
Gulenko's practice shows that people will group themselves into triads or quads, according to their energy when they start solving a problem as a group, and not talking about the issue. Benefit relationships here play a big role. That's how people connect to each other via energy, because they want to achieve something. That's when energetic extroverts unite together, and the quiet introverts will be displaced.
The attribute of the extrovert and introvert dichotomy will play a role in this type of behavior. For example, when a teacher asks a classroom a question, and everyone knows the answer, the first people to raise their hands will be the extroverts. This is how the division happens, through this simple example. This particular dichotomy is the basis of the energy model.
A very famous statistician, Stalana(?) performed an experiment by testing thousands of people through tests and questionnaires. He found out that people will show two strongest functions in their personality, which are both either introverted or extroverted. Although as we know, in socionics, in the first two functions one is extroverted and one is introverted. Statistics show the same results for your two weakest functions - they will be both either introverted or extroverted. This experiment shows that there are two types of functional models, the first one will be the informational model, which is what you use when you have to process something, and the second will be the energy model, which is what you use when you have to act and use energy for something.

To distinguish subtypes, of course you can use tests that include the additional dichotomies of initial/terminal and contact/distance. Another way of distinguishing these subtypes, is when you can compare this person to the 16 sociotypes as well as have an idea of each 4 subtypes in in your head. This means you have to have 64 types in your head for reference. The best thing you can do, to distinguish subtypes, is to get 4 people of the same type in a room together, and ask them to solve a problem together. Through this working group, you will see the difference in their roles. If the group is stable, you will clearly see a leader - someone who takes charge, and this will be the dominant type. You will also clearly see someone who offers non-standard solutions, and starts generalizing ideas, this will be the creative type. You will also see someone who will make sure that everything is done, and that the group is not steering away from the normal, standard course, and this is the normalizing type. Lastly, will be someone who makes sure that communication is pleasant among the group. Remember, that all this is within one type.
That's the reason there are so many differences between socionics schools.
For example, statistics show that a lot of LSIs occupy high level positions. MBTI has similar statistics. You need to remember that LSI that has the higher role and positions, will usually be the dominant subtype, because it is easier for them to climb those steps of societal hierarchy. A mistake one can make is when they don't include the subtype system when typing, and the LSI-dominant will have very distinguished Ti function, and a lot of people who don't know the subtype system, will type this person as SLE, making the person an extraverted type. That is a mistake.
It's also very important to know, that even when there are duals, the subtype relationhips make a big impact on dualization. If two duals don't correlate well in the subtype system, then dualization will be a lot harder, or not possible. For example, if one dual is an initial subtype, and the other terminal, these duals will not make it.

11. What has been the greatest change for Gulenko since when he started writing about socionics?

He noticed he had great changes in his understanding of socionics. At first, he had high expectations, and that thought if he typed two people it would be easy to predict everything else, but he found out it's not that easy.
The second thing he understood is that you can't type a person simply by what the person is saying to you. You have to pay attention to non-verbal reactions of the person, how the person behaves, and especially the way the person thinks and acts on certain things. That will be important, when making a diagnosis, because he noticed that when a person talks they just talk, but it's not necessarily what they think.

12. [translator doesn't say question in English but it seems that the question is if there's a correlation between socionics and types of intelligence]

There is a relationship between sociotypes and the seven levels of intelligence. If you are born as an abstract thinker, then you will be predisposed to those strengths of being a logical, mathematical, and theoretical thinker. People who need to communicate effectively and build connections will be social people like the extroverted, sensing types, and feeling types. Humanitarians - ethical and intuitive types - will be more predisposed to things like languages. If you are intelligent, but more practical, and an applicant of your logic, you will be good at management type logic, which can be good with things like machinery.